New Delhi, Jun 9 (IANS): A Sikh family of three in Canada's British Columbia province is set to be deported back to India on June 13 unless the Ottawa government grants a stay or delay.
Hardeep Singh Chahal, his pregnant wife Kamaldeep Kaur and their three-year-old daughter, who live in Penticton, were given deportation orders last month for reasons withheld for privacy reasons, the Houston Today newspaper reported.
The couple was granted 10-year visitor visas, and later work visas, by the Canadian government, following which they applied for refugee status.
However, that claim and two subsequent appeals were denied in 2021 and 2022 as they were unable to provide right documentation to substantiate their claim.
The couple fear that once they leave, a comeback will not be possible in Canada, which they consider as home and the community in Penticton as family.
They also said that it would be difficult for them to get jobs in India because of their limited qualifications, according to local media reports.
Education and healthcare are other two issues, which makes the couple want to stay in Canada.
"We are just not ready to leave... When we asked them (the government) why we had to go, they said athese are the rules, these are the rules," Kamaldeep told Burnaby Now.
Before the government order, Hardeep was employed as an agricultural worker at Lake Breeze Winery in Naramata, and Kamaldeep had been working full time at the Penticton Wal-Mart.
"He (Hardeep) came to work for me two years ago and he's been stellar. This is so crazy that when we are in great need of good vineyard workers, the government wants to send him away," Pierre Levesque, manager at the Lake Breeze Winery, told Houston Today.
Levesque said he has received around 90 applications to fill Hardeep's job but none have his qualifications.
Meanwhile, the community has come out in support of the family with more than 100 emails of support have been sent to Okanagan MP Richard Cannings' office.
"We are working very hard to get a stay on the deportation order and get this family permanent residency status," Cannings, MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay, told Houston Today.
Cannings said he has spoken to federal immigration on this matter twice, and has sent support emails from the community to the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
The MP said his staff members have been working to stay the deportation, or at least delay it until they receive answers on their permanent residency application.
"They are very much contributing members of our community. Their employers are advocating hard for them to stay. We are anxiously awaiting to hear from the Canadian Border Services Agency on the permanent residency status," said Jula Sukumar-Dyer, Canning's Penticton constituents' assistant.
The development comes amidst the Canadian government's move to deport hundreds of Indian students, who had applied for permanent residency in Canada, over fake admission letters.