A man who brought his family to Winnipeg from South Korea five years ago says their future in Canada is uncertain due to immigration bureaucracy.

Kyung Sung Kim says he has been waiting for Citizenship and Immigration Canada to renew his work permit since it expired 2½ years ago.

'It's like writing to a brick wall.' - Paul Hesse, Kim's lawyer

While Kim, a carpenter, has been allowed to continue working in the interim, he said waiting so long to get his work permit renewed has been difficult for his family.

"I feel like there is no hope. It's very frustrating," he told CBC News through an interpreter.

Without a valid work permit, Kim cannot renew his health card or workplace benefits, and his driver's licence has expired.

As a result, Kim said he's been paying cash for doctor's visits, and it has been challenging for his family to get around without the driver's licence.

Kim arrived in Winnipeg in 2008 with his wife, Eun, and their two sons — 13-year-old Dong Hyung, who has autism, and 11-year-old Dong Jin.

Kyung Sung Kim

Kyung Sung Kim says he has been waiting for Citizenship and Immigration Canada to renew his work permit since it expired over two years ago. (Ryan Hicks/CBC)

The family's lawyer, Paul Hesse, says immigration officials have not been in touch with him or with Kim, despite repeated attempts to get an update.

"It's like writing to a brick wall. I'd like to have a dialogue with Citizenship and Immigration Canada about this case," Hesse said.

A Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokesperson told CBC News there is presently no backlog for work permit renewals.

However, the department has not explained why Kim has had to wait so long for his permit to be renewed.

Kim said he and his family want to know one way or another so they can plan for a stable future back in South Korea or, ideally, here in Canada.

"In Canada there's diversity, no racism, and equal opportunities for everyone," he said.