Christine Joyce Vega, the Filipino ICU nurse who was to be deported this month has been granted a work permit.  His lawyer Luke Mcrae (behind) announced the decision. (Photo: The Star)


“I am excited to go back to work.”

Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas

Editor, Philippine Canadian News.Com

The ICU nurse who was to be deported back to the Philippines on April 28 has won a reprieve, his lawyer announced today.

In an email to Surrey-based community activist Narima Dela Cruz, Luke McRae broke the news that the Immigration Department has granted ICU nurse Christine Joyce Vega a work permit and her deportation order cancelled.

After hearing of Vega’s plight, Dela Cruz quickly responded by reaching out to her contacts, among them MP Zalma Zahid,Minister Deb Schulte and Minister Ahmed Hussien. She also contacted Vega’s lawyer, Luke McRae who sent the information today:

Narima Dela Cruz

“I feel relieved, blessed and happy,” Vega told The Toronto Star after hearing the decision.

She came here as an international student at Conestoga College in 2015, earned her registered nurse licence and has two years of RN experience at Markham Stouffville and Mackenzie Richmond Hill hospitals.

“My plan moving forward is to go back to my oath of duty as soon as possible to help the patients and serve the country,” she added.

The decision to let her stay came on the heels of the announcement today by the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Health  that they have opened a portal to recruit health workers to help in the fight against coronavirus.

Coronavirus: Ontario launches online portal to recruit health-care workers

“Technical errors shouldn’t frustrate the broader purposes of Canada’s immigration laws,” said Vega’s lawyer, Luke McRae. “Making the online immigration application process more user-friendly and providing an opportunity to correct technical errors would go a long way to ensuring people like Ms. Vega don’t end up in this predicament,” McRae told The Star.

Vega said as soon as she got the news from immigration and border officials this week, she reached out to her hospital managers and supporters, as well as her parents back home, who have pinned the family’s future on their daughter.

“I spread the good news to my relatives, co-workers and friends who sent me good luck and prayers when they saw the Star’s article,” said Vega, who made her favourite banana bread and topped it with vanilla ice cream to celebrate the news.

“I am excited to go back to work.”
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