Yukon temporary worker happy Ottawa strike is over

A six-month strike by foreign service workers delayed citizenship and visa applications for thousands of people, including Marivic Perlawan of Whitehorse.

6-month foreign service strike delays residency and visa applications

A temporary worker in the Yukon is relieved a six-month strike in Ottawa is over and hopes it will help her reunite her family.

The strike by foreign service workers delayed citizenship and visa applications for thousands of people.

Marivic Perlawan first arrived in Canada in 2006. She came on a temporary work visa.

The move separated her from her two children in the Philippines. She says the separation has been extremely difficult.

"The last time I remember my son, he was only two years old. That's why I'm so frustrated and hoping someday I will find myself bringing them here,” she said.

“Because my daughter keeps asking me, when are they coming here? And I said, I don't know. When are you going here? And I said, I don't know."

Perlawan’s children are now 10 and 16.

Back in 2006 she worked as a housekeeper at a hotel in Banff, Alta., and bounced around the province until deciding to come north. She arrived in Whitehorse 2009 and worked a variety of jobs before finding and employer willing to sponsor her.

In 2011, she filed for permanent residency and has been waiting for approval ever since.

Mike Buensuceso, the head of the Canadian Filipino Association of the Yukon, says Perlawan’s case is unusual. He says the average wait time for residency is a year and half but families generally have to wait longer.

"Like for example, they have quite a few dependents in the Philippines that they need to bring here and for that reason alone, they need to make enough money to support all those dependents they have."

Perlawan admits she doesn't even have enough savings to buy plane tickets for her children yet but that’s partly why she is so desperate to get residency.

“For me, I live paycheque to paycheque because I'm supporting my kids,” she said. ”My mom is sick, my kids are always sick. And expenses here are very high. That's why I want to get my papers so I can find two jobs so I can save money.”

Perlawan hopes that the end of the diplomatic strike in Ottawa will finally allow her residency application to be processed. She is eager to see her kids and begin rebuilding a relationship that has sat in limbo for the past seven years.


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