A Filipino couple, in Canada as temporary foreign workers, is pleading with the government to let them stay in the country and the two are blaming their immigration consultant for mistakes which led to their residency applications being rejected.
Vanessa Tamodong and Honorato Peralta have been in B.C. for more than five years as temporary foreign workers, got married in Canada and have a a child, Jordan, who was born in Canada.
The couple say they have worked at several Burger King franchises in the Lower Mainland and Victoria. When they had worked long enough to qualify for permanent residency, they say they paid an immigration consultant around $3,000 to handle the paperwork.
But they say the consultant listed the wrong Burger King location and their application was denied.
"He made the application here in Vancouver even though he saw my husband was working in Victoria," Tamadong said.
The pair is now out of work and is expected to be sent back to the Philippines as they have no status in Canada.
"We've been out of work for three months and have been surviving just through the kindness of other people," Tamodong said.
If the couple went back to the Philippines, it would be challenging for them to return to Canada, Peralta said.
Crackdown since June
The federal government has cracked down on the paperwork on the troubled Temporary Foreign Worker program since June.
Thousands of workers now are being deported despite working and living in Canada for several years and the new rules are designed to make it more difficult for employers to hire temporary foreign workers and give a higher priority to Canadians for jobs.
NDP MLA Mable Elmore says the couple's story is one she has heard often.
"They come to Canada being offered the promise to become permanent residency, and the vast majority think they have the opportunity to do that."
The couple hopes that by speaking out, the government will reconsider whether they should be sent home for a mistake they said they didn't make.
First Choice Immigration, the consultant that Tamodong and Peralta say they used, declined to comment.