Two University of Regina students from Nigeria are asking immigration officials to allow them to stay in Canada because they did not know working at a Walmart store was not allowed under their student visas.

The pair have taken sanctuary in a church, hoping to avoid deportation.

Victoria Ordu and Ihuoma Amadi have been studying at the U of R for three years and their student visas do allow them to work, but only on campus.

They claim they did not know of the restriction and worked for a time at a Walmart store, but stopped as soon as they learned of the rules.

They said they were forthcoming about their errors with immigration officials, but are nevertheless facing deportation.

They say their lives have taken a dramatic turn for the worse and hope the minister of immigration will let them stay and finish their studies.

"This is Canada, but it feels like hell for us," Amadi told CBC News Wednesday. "We feel forgotten here, nothing is happening at all. We just pray and hope he pardons us."

The two have not left the church for three months.

They have found an immigration consultant who is helping them with their appeals for a second chance.

"We acted out of ignorance but now we realize that what we did was wrong, so we're just asking for mercy," Amadi added.