From refusal to Permanent Residency approval: a dreamer’s journey

Prince Albert, SK

Hurdling immigration challenges for 3 years

By Chauncey Rodriguez

I entered Canada last year with a visitor’s visa and an expired Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) application.

While reuniting with my brother and sister and their families – I also had the chance to babysit my nephews. I became a tourist here for 11 months – traveling and enjoying the beautiful parts of the country. And lucky me, it was all sponsored by them and their families.

But my vacation this year is very different – I already have my own job so I have to spend my own money.  Like any other Overseas Filipino Worker’s (OFW’s) motto – “kudkud ug kaskas.” But I am now living the dream—the Canadian dream as a Permanent Resident.

My journey in becoming a Permanent Resident (PR) of Canada started way back in 2017 when my brother, who is already based in Saskatchewan, was persistent that I come to Canada through the SINP (a provincial program allowing people to work and live in rural areas sponsored by well-known companies).

Being half-hearted during the entire application process – I did not make the cut.

During pandemic, the tables have turned – I became very eager about coming to Canada. l stayed focused on my application – and by God’s grace, I got a nomination last August 2021.

The hold up was how to process my OFW application when government offices were mostly still on a skeletal workforce. So my brother decided that I just come to Canada through a visitor’s visa and see for myself how life was here while waiting for an update about my application.

Unfortunately, typhoon Odette hit my hometown Cebu and it delayed the submission of documents. I was only able to book a flight for Canada on April 2022.

I was approved for multiple entry to Canada for 10 years but was allowed only up to 6 months stay per entry.

During my third month in Canada, we reached out to the SINP office to request for an extension of my nomination. The SINP office replied that my employer, Tim Hortons, would no longer sponsor my nomination. We then sought advise from an immigration consultant.

By God’s grace, after weeks of exchanging emails and phone calls – Tims agreed to sponsor my nomination again and the SINP office also agreed to extend the deadline for a month. The only reason why it was reopened and extended was that I was already in Canada.

Canada Immigration’s estimated processing time was 165 days – so it meant waiting for 5.5 months which was very tight considering my permit to stay was only for 6 months.

Immigration gave me the option to wait inside Canada or go back to the Philippines. I chose to stay in Canada instead of spending on a plane ticket to Cebu.

At that time, I was in Canada legally as an overstaying tourist waiting for the approval of my work permit application.

I’ve always thought that the hardest part was re-applying for the SINP but it was really the waiting for the approval of the work permit.

I always hoped and prayed that it would come sooner.

Of course, there were days when I felt anxious and days when I was just chill about it. These thoughts were running through my mind – “I had a good life in the Philippines. Why did I come to Canada in the first place?”

God heard my prayers. I got my work permit two months earlier than the estimated wait time. I started working at Tims last March and moved to Prince Albert under the SINP.

I just celebrated my fifth month at work – the perks include getting a raise, a promotion, and a new job assignment.

As part of my immigration journey, I also submitted my application for permanent residency to Canada Immigration last October 2022.

The processing time for PR is within 17 months (for my category) – from the time you receive a tracking number.

In March, I received feedback from Immigration that my PR application was being processed, received a tracking number and a request for a few documents to be sent back.

This time, I was more accepting of the waiting part but to my surprise, my PR application was approved last August 9, 2023.   

I’m now part of the very dynamic Filipino diaspora in Canada and in sharing my story, I hope to inspire others to pursue their dreams.

While I miss my parents and believe that there is no place like home, I’m happy to see so much of the Filipino culture with my fellow OFWs here.

As of 2021, we are the third largest migrant group in Canada.  That’s how big the Filipino population is here now.   

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top