Filipino man awaits resident status

Freddie Mabalot expects to finally be able to call Cape Breton his permanent home.

Freddie Mabalot expects to finally be able to call Cape Breton his permanent home.

The Filipino musician, who has been living in Sydney since he suffered kidney failure aboard a cruise ship three years ago, applied for permanent resident status.

He found out Tuesday that officials with Citizenship and Immigration Canada want to meet with him next week in Halifax.

"I was surprised," Mabalot said. "But it's really very good news to me."

Lawyer Lee Cohen said immigration officials are ready to put the final touches on his client's application.

"They are now in a position to land Freddie in Canada and give him his permanent resident status," said Cohen. "It's a huge day for Freddie."

Mabalot, 49, needs daily dialysis treatments because of his medical condition.

When he faced deportation back to the Philippines, the community rallied around him, arguing that his life would be in jeopardy because he wouldn't get the medical treatment there that he needs.

Last March, immigration officials allowed Mabalot to remain in the country instead of leaving and applying from abroad as usually required.

Now he also has high hopes he'll get a job.

After a disappointing few months, Mabalot landed an interview with a local coffee shop on Tuesday and the supervisor promised to call him back.

"It was my birthday yesterday," he said. "This will be a very good present to me."

Mabalot was worried the lack of a job would put his application in jeopardy.

Cohen said if all goes according to plan, Mabalot will be a permanent resident by next week and be able to bring his wife and children to Cape Breton within a year.