European family facing deportation can finally stay
TORONTO – That was close.
Mathieu Cousin and Erika Mistiaen found out with two days to spare they won’t have to quit their jobs, give up their apartment and move back to France with their Canadian-born toddler because of immigration department delays.
The young couple, who were featured in the Toronto Sun earlier this week, had been waiting months to have their work permits bridged while their permanent residence applications are vetted.
But with a deadline of Monday looming, and no word from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officials on the simple extension that had been delayed weeks, the pair had started to prepare to return to France.
But good news came late Friday.
An official with CIC called to say their applications had been moved to the next stage, meaning their permits have been extended and they can stay in their adopted homeland.
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Cousin said Saturday. “It’s hard to realize all we’ve been through over the past two weeks. It was up and down. Mostly down.”
The couple told the Toronto Sun’s Michele Mandel this week they’ve been living and working in Canada since June 2013 under the International Experience Canada program.
Cousin, 32, was hired as a business system analyst and Mistiaen, 30, found work as a customer service rep — and they welcomed their Canadian son, Nathan, 22 months ago.
CIC officials originally told Cousin that getting approval for the first step in the permanent resident process would take about eight weeks. Later, they said it would likely be 18 weeks — which meant it wouldn’t arrive in time to extend their work permits, which were set to expire Dec. 8.
The couple would no longer have SIN numbers or health insurance.
But Friday’s good news means their SIN numbers are extended and their health coverage can be reimbursed when their permanent residency is approved.