Manitoba

'We love Canada but we love our families too': Polish couple in Manitoba 'heartbroken' over long wait to stay

For Julian Binc, Canada was a dream. It's a place he has wanted to live since he was a little boy growing up in Poland. But now he is conflicted about whether or not to leave.

Julian Binc, 26, moved to Brandon in 2014 and is now considering moving back to Poland

Julian Binc and his girlfriend Marta are considering packing up their dream life in Canada and moving back overseas due to lengthy wait times to process permanent resident applications. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

For Julian Binc, Canada was a dream, a place he has wanted to live since he was a boy growing up in Poland.

His Canadian dream came true in November 2014. But now he is conflicted about whether or not to leave. 

Binc said while he's happy to see Canada opening the doors for Syrian refugees, he's troubled by the feeling that other newcomers to Canada who have gone through the long process to get where they are have been put on the back burner.

"When they [refugees] came to Canada it was a motivation for me because I've seen families reunited at the airport," said Binc. "I've seen tears of joy in the people's eyes when they came to Canada and I've seen that the Canadian government did a lot to help families to reunite."

But Binc said the 18-month-wait he's been quoted for a permanent resident application to be processed has him seriously considering packing up and moving back overseas.

His dream was to eventually sponsor his parents to come to Canada too. 

"The problem right now is that we miss our families," Binc said while choking up, his girlfriend also in tears sitting next to him. "We are here, just me and my girlfriend. We have seen how great people can live in this country and we kind of suffer because we miss our families and we wish they could be here with us."

Binc, 26, works in administration in Brandon, Man. His girlfriend, Marta, works in a local daycare. They have work visas and have been nominated for permanent residency. But it's that process that Binc is unsure about completing.

"I wish I could stay," he said. "The biggest dream would be to become a permanent resident of Canada and get my parents here... [but] who knows what's going to happen in two years." 

Binc said his parents are alone back home and if something happened to them, he worries he'd never know. 

"I could call my parents and no one would pick up the phone because maybe something would happen to them while we wait." 

Binc said being forced to choose between his parents and Canada has left him heartbroken.

"We love Canada but on the other side we love our families too."

Living the Canadian dream

Moving to Canada has been a dream come true for Binc.

The first few days, he said, were tough. But he has since adjusted to life in Manitoba and everything is as he imagined it would be. 

"We don't really feel homesick. Everyone has been nice to us," he said. We have driven to a lot of places... provincial parks, lakes, small towns. We really do enjoy every single day."

Binc estimates he has driven more than 8,000 kilometres visiting different attractions and destinations in Manitoba alone. 

"On your cars it says 'Friendly Manitoba' and I do think it's true," said Binc. "Everywhere we went everyone has welcomed us with a smile on their face." 

Binc is proud of Canada for its handling of the Syrian refugee crisis. 

"I think Canada did another great thing by setting an example."

But he also believes there are thousands of others in situations similar to his, waiting to be reunited with family. 

Citizenship and Immigration Canada currently lists wait times for processing provincial nominee applications from Poland of 29 months. Express entry applications can be processed in as little as six months, however Binc does not qualify for that option. 

"I just wish someone could do something for people like us," he said. 

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