Fu­ture in Canada un­cer­tain

Fam­ily fac­ing de­por­ta­tion de­spite dad be­ing highly skilled avi­a­tion me­chanic

The Chatham Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - ELL­WOOD SHREVE

MUIRKIRK – Three years ago, for­mer New Zealand res­i­dents Dan and Rox­anne Margot poured their life sav­ings into a farm house in this East Kent com­mu­nity as they looked for­ward to rais­ing their two girls in a tran­quil, safe ru­ral set­ting.

To­day, that tran­quil feel­ing has been re­placed by con­stant worry that the Cana­dian govern­ment will de­port them.

The un­cer­tainty of their fu­ture in Canada has also prompted the fam­ily to put their dream home up for sale.

Dan, 32, who is an avi­a­tion me­chanic with a spe­cial skill work­ing with air­craft gas tur­bine power plants, was of­fered the chance to work in the oil and gas in­dus­try in Canada. Hav­ing pre­vi­ously vis­ited the coun­try, which they fell in love with, the fam­ily was ec­static about this op­por­tu­nity.

Since Dan’s par­tic­u­lar skill is in such de­mand, his pre­vi­ous em­ployer said he can live any­where he wants in Canada, as long as he has ac­cess to an air­port.

“We found this house and I thought it would be a nice life for the kids,” he said.

Life was go­ing well for the Margot fam­ily with Dan reg­u­larly trav­el­ling to the tar sands in Al­berta for work on wa­ter treat­ment plants. But that soon changed when the oil in­dus­try took a nose dive and Dan was laid off in Jan­uary 2016.

Ini­tially, it wasn’t a big worry, since Dan has never had a prob­lem find­ing work.

But, he would soon learn his work visa was only for his pre­vi­ous job.

“I’ve been to nu­mer­ous job in­ter­views where it was go­ing very well up un­til the point I men­tioned visa pa­per­work would have to be done,” Dan said.

He also learned the rules and reg­u­la­tions Cana­dian em­ploy­ers have to fol­low in or­der to hire a for­eigner in­clude hav­ing to ad­ver­tise the po­si­tion for a min­i­mum of three months, in­clud­ing some time on the job­bank.gc.ca web­site.

He added the em­ployer is also re­quired to pay $1,000 for a labour mar­ket im­pact as­sess­ment that Ser­vice Canada car­ries out to en­sure a Cana­dian is not be­ing dis­placed.

“Once a favourable de­ci­sion has come back . . . then only could I ap­ply for a work visa,” he said. “I did not, hon­estly, think it would be such a mis­sion to find other em­ploy­ment.”

I’ve been to nu­mer­ous job in­ter­views where it was go­ing very well up un­til the point I men­tioned visa pa­per­work would have to be done.”

Dan Margot

Mean­while they re­ceived a let­ter dated July 20, from Im­mi­gra­tion, Refugees and Cit­i­zen­ship Canada, in­form­ing them their ap­pli­ca­tion for a work per­mit has been re­fused. It also stated their tem­po­rary res­i­dent sta­tus ex­pired on July 20.

The let­ter also in­formed the Mar­gots that their ap­pli­ca­tion for per­ma­nent res­i­dence un­der hu­man­i­tar­ian and com­pas­sion­ate grounds had not yet re­ceived ini­tial ap­proval, so they are not el­i­gi­ble for an open work per­mit, at this time. Rox­anne is trained as a per­sonal sup­port worker.

The cou­ple said if noth­ing changes by Oct. 20, they will have to leave Canada.

The Daily News con­tacted Im­mi­gra­tion, Refugees and Cit­i­zen­ship on Wed­nes­day and were in­formed the Mar­gots case could be dis­cussed if they agree to fill out a con­sent form. The cou­ple plans to do that.

The Mar­gots said Chatham-Kent-Leam­ing­ton MP Dave Van Kesteren tried to in­ter­vene on their be­half as well. How­ever, Van Kesteren’s of­fice said due to fed­eral pri­vacy laws, no com­ment re­gard­ing this mat­ter can be made to the me­dia.

Rox­anne said this has been a try­ing or­deal, adding they sim­ply want to work and raise their fam­ily.

“We can’t even en­joy what we have, be­cause we’re too busy won­der­ing what’s go­ing to hap­pen in a month’s time. Are we still go­ing to be here?”

She added their girls, Olive, 9, and Rita, 7, are “very up­set, they talk about it all the time.”

The ex­pi­ra­tion of their tem­po­rary res­i­dent sta­tus also means the girls are also not al­lowed to at­tend school.

Rox­anne said her daugh­ters visit friends, but “all their friends are back at school and they’re feel­ing it.”

Since Rox­anne was born in Eng­land and has a valid United King­dom pass­port, the wel­come mat is out for them to go to Spain, since Bri­tain has not yet ex­ited from the Euro­pean Union.

What is mak­ing it even harder to leave their new home is the out­pour­ing of sup­port the Mar­gots have re­ceived from the com­mu­nity. They said teach­ers have vis­ited and other res­i­dents have brought by do­na­tions of gro­ceries and veg­eta­bles from their gar­den.

Ridgetown me­chanic shop owner Alan De­laet told The Daily News he un­der­took his own e-mail cam­paign to Gover­nor Gen­eral David John­ston to re­quest he in­ter­vene.

He’s also reached to Ahmed D. Hussen, the Min­is­ter of Im­mi­gra­tion, Refugees and Cit­i­zen­ship, but re­ceived no re­sponse.

De­laet said he stated in his email to the Gover­nor Gen­eral that he has noth­ing against help­ing peo­ple from other parts of the world who need a hand.

But, he noted the Mar­gots are from coun­tries that are part of the Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth.

“It’s just mind-bog­gling,” De­laet said, adding the Mar­gots are just de­cent peo­ple who want to work.

Look­ing around at their home sur­rounded by fields burst­ing with crops, Dan summed up their feel­ings when he stated: “It’s the nicest place we’ve ever lived.”

ELL­WOOD SHREVE/THE DAILY NEWS

The Margot fam­ily, in­clud­ing par­ents Rox­anne and Dan and their daugh­ters Rita, 7, front left, and Olive, 9, are hop­ing they can re­main in Canada liv­ing in their dream home near Muirkirk. Their ap­pli­ca­tion for a work per­mit has been re­fused by Im­mi­gra­tion, Refugees and Cit­i­zen­ship Canada and their tem­po­rary res­i­dent sta­tus has ex­pired, leav­ing their fu­ture in Canada un­cer­tain.

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