Ahmed-Seghir Guettaoui, originally from Algeria has been waiting for Citizenship and Immigration Canada to process his permanent residence application on humanitarian and compassionate grounds – for seven years.
Guettaoui owns his own barbershop in the town of Aylmer, Quebec. One day at the end of May, Guettaoui was handcuffed by border services agents in front of several customers and later held in a detention centre for two days in Laval. Upon release, he had to find his own way home, and Laval, which is just next to Montreal, is two-and-a-half hours or almost 200 kilometers east of Aylmer, which borders Ottawa.
Guettaoui was arrested because he mixed up some dates on his work permit, but even though applied to renew his work permit, the immigration office would not renew it without his old one (despite the fact that the immigration office itself actually had his old one and not returned it!) After his arrest he could no longer just pay a fee to renew it, but had to reapply all over again. He also can’t work until his application is approved, which could take up to 100 days.
Guettaoui has been working full-time since he finished an English course in 2001. According to the Ottawa Citizen, he considers himself hard-working and someone who enjoys working and contributing to society, and does not want to go on welfare for support. The delay in waiting for his work permit also means his carefully and painstakingly-acquired clientele may find a new barbershop to frequent, affecting his future business once his permit is in order.
Let this be a lesson: no matter who you are or whether you have a great full-time job or own your own business, even the slightest mix-up or omission when filing immigration or work permit paperwork can have serious consequences. If you are filling out paperwork for a Canadian Work Permit or any other immigration paperwork, consult an immigration lawyer.
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