Jasper, Alta., temporary foreign worker wins last minute reprieve

Temporary foreign worker Stephan Biletzki had given up hope of staying in Canada.

Stephan Biletzki gets email just 7 hours before boarding flight to Germany

Temporary foreign worker Stephan Biletzki earned a last minute reprieve to stay in Canada Tuesday. (CBC)

Temporary foreign worker Stephan Biletzki had given up hope of staying in Canada.

He had vacated his apartment, sold his belongings, and was seven hours from boarding a plane for Germany as his work permit was set to expire Tuesday midnight.

On his way to his last supper in Canada, he received an email announcing a reprieve.

"I'm extremely happy," he said.

His work permit, like thousands of other temporary foreign workers in Alberta, was to expire April 1 — the deadline for workers who have been in Canada for more than four years but not on the path to becoming permanent residents.

While Biletzki was one of about 10,000 temporary foreign workers who have applied to stay in Canada through the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program, the overwhelming number of applications led to lengthy backlog in the system.

Biletzki had been in Canada for nearly eight years working at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge as a banquet server.

​His employer continued to fight for him to stay up to the last minute. 

"It's great news in the end, but we wish it had come a little bit earlier," said Jenn Melanson, who works in human resources at the lodge.

The lodge also covered Biletzki's flight, money now down the drain.

"That was an inconvenience and a financial loss," Melanson said.

No one from the federal government could be contacted to find out how many others were contacted at the last minute, but Biletzki said he's just happy he didn't take an earlier flight.

He's now trying to get his furniture back and working on his paperwork which will allow him to remain in Canada.


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