Congolese priest in Sorel-Tracy gets visa extended
Father Odon-Charles Miense was facing deportation after visa extension initially refused
Sorel-Tracy priest Odon-Charles Miense is no longer facing deportation back to his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The priest has has recently learned that his visa has been renewed.
CBC News reported in early January that Miense’s visa expired in December and that he was preparing to leave the country as a result.
Louis Plamondon, the Member of Parliament for Bas-Richelieu-Nicolet-Bécancour, said it was all just a result of bureaucratic bungling.
Plamondon says Miense began practising as a priest “without the prerequisites” required to render such services, even though the bishop had given him a mandate to work there.
“He made the wrong request to Immigration Canada, and Immigration Canada played by the book. They said, ‘No, we’re going to deport you,’” Plamondon said.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada had also demanded Miense get a work permit, even though on the department's own website, it says priests are exempt from such requirements.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada rejected Miense's application to extend his stay, saying he did not provide enough proof he intended to leave the country at the end of his eight-year term.
Now that his visa has been renewed, he said that he wishes the government would have explained what he needed to do instead of refusing his request outright.
Miense said he’s happy to be able to devote all his time now to working in the church.