“I’m not sure what happened, but we were notified by the Canadian Border Agency (CBSA) that they had cancelled the deportation order,” Jacqueline Swaisland said.
Filipe Gonçalves, 40, Eva Ferreira, 39, and their son Luís Gonçalves, 15 – who have been in Canada since 2012 and are originally from Fafe (Braga district) - had a deportation order for 11 February following the expiry of their work visa, despite several attempts in different processes to revalidate their status.
At the moment the lawyer says she “has no further information” about the cancellation of the deportation and the fact that the CBSA did not “send a new date for the deportation” is a “good sign”.
“They haven’t sent us any future date for the deportation, it doesn’t appear that they will be deported on another date, they just told us it was cancelled,” she added.
Since arriving in Canada in August 2012, the family says they have spent about 56,000 Canadian dollars (36,400 Euros) on three different immigration consultants and lawyers from different companies.
The Portuguese family arrived in Canada, applied for two work visas in 2012, through a heavy goods haulage company.
The work visas, of Filipe, for one year, and of Eva, valid for two years, were approved in mid-November of that year, when both started working in Canada with all the legal documentation.
The problem arose with the renewal of the work visas, which didn’t happen, with the family blaming several immigration consultants who didn’t “do their job”.
The family only became aware that they were undocumented in 2014, despite unsuccessful attempts at legalisation.
In March 2020, Ottawa suspended most deportations due to the pandemic. In early August, Canada decided to deport the most severe cases of inadmissibility. And all cases of inadmissibility at the end of November.
It was then, that the Portuguese family contacted the Toronto lawyer, who submitted an application for humanitarian compassionate status in December for the enormous effort they “have made to regularise their status in Canada”.
Meanwhile, Jacqueline Swaisland has submitted a request to delay deportation, arguing that the family “should not be deported at this time”, and that the CBSA should wait until it has a response to the application for humanitarian compassion status and because “it is not safe to travel to Portugal because it has one of the highest rates of cases with infections due to the pandemic”.
The request was rejected by the Canadian authorities, with the last alternative being an appeal to the Federal Court, which would be presented on 10 February, one day before deportation.
According to data from the Canadian government, more than 480,000 Portuguese and Portuguese descendants live in the country.