Toddler born in South Africa reunited with mom after denied visa to Canada for 4 months
A B.C. mom has finally been reunited with her family after she says Canadian immigration officials repeatedly denied her toddler, who was born in South Africa, entry to Canada.
Susan Standfield, who was born in Vancouver, was finally able to hug her husband and two young children when they arrived at YVR on Nov. 26 after nearly four months apart.
“It’s unbelievable,” she said with a sigh of relief. “I can smell them and hold them again. I forgot what it was like to hold them.”
Standfield’s joy is a far cry from the bureaucratic nightmare she has endured over the past four months. She said she routinely experienced panic attacks, unsure when she would be able to see her family again.
Earlier this year, Standfield, a fifth generation Canadian who was previously living in South Africa, moved back to B.C. and accepted a job with a Vancouver-based communications firm.
Her husband Robert Spooner, who is a British citizen, planned to follow with their two children, four-year-old Jack, who is also a British citizen, and Meg, who is a South African citizen.
But those plans were stalled after two visa applications and a passport application for Meg were denied because Canadian officials refused to accept her daughter’s birth certificate.
While she recognizes that refugees are just as important for Canada, she said she was told by immigration that her daughter’s application was delayed because of a refugee application backlog.
“That should never happen,” she said. “In the same way that people who are dealing with serious refugee issues, they shouldn’t have to be waiting … no Canadian should ever be experiencing stress when it comes to their citizenship.”
She urged any Canadians who plan on having children overseas in a country that doesn’t have a favourable immigration agreement with Canada to either “come home and have the baby” or to be prepared for a year or two of waiting for their citizenship application to be processed.
“I took it for granted that being Canadian would make things happen quickly for us,” she said. “That was naïve.”