Canada stops Filipina nurse’s deportation amid pandemic
TORONTO — A Filipina intensive-care unit nurse whose work permit extension was rejected because of minor errors will not be deported from Canada and can return to her front-line duties in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Christine Joyce Vega, 27, faced deportation this month after she lost her legal status for missing a $100 payment and a document in her application for work permit extension as her permanent residence application was being processed.
The Toronto Star reported on Vega’s plight, prompting Canada’s Border Services Agency to announce that her removal has been canceled and that a new work permit had been issued. Her application for permanent residency will be re-processed.
“I feel relieved, blessed and happy,” Vega told the Star. She came to Canada as an international student at Conestoga College in 2015, earned her registered nurse license and has two years of RN experience at Markham Stouffville and Mackenzie Richmond Hill hospitals.
She said she planned “to go back to my oath of duty as soon as possible to help the patients and serve the country.”
“This is a result that serves the health of Canadians,” Vega’s lawyer, Luke McRae said. “Technical errors shouldn’t frustrate the broader purposes of Canada’s immigration laws,” he added.
In her immigration application last April, Vega scored 1,038 out of a maximum 1,200 points based on her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Philippines, Canadian education credentials and work experience, as well as her nomination by the Ontario government.
But she needed to extend her work permit while her immigration application was being processed. When the extension was denied, a friend advised her to go to the Canadian border visa post at Lansdowne to get a new work permit. However, once out of the country, she had no legal status to return.
Vega was readmitted into Canada again but was told she would be deported. She sought McRae’s legal help.
“Making the online immigration application process more user-friendly and providing an opportunity to correct technical errors would go a long way to ensuring people like Ms. Vega don’t end up in this predicament,” McRae suggested.