This almost-deported Filipino nurse now serves on the COVID-19 frontlines in Canada

CANADA — Ontario recently launched an online portal seeking to recruit more health care workers to help in the battle against the COVID-19 crisis.

“Ontario is seeking those with experience in providing health care who are available to help provincial efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19, if required.”

One of the nurses working, until recently, in an Ontario hospital is Filipino nurse Christine Joyce Vega.

A nursing graduate in the Philippines, she took additional nursing courses when she arrived in Canada in 2015.

She has been working fulltime as a nurse for the last two years.

But her work permit expired last February, and when she tried to extend it at the Canada-U.S. border.

She instead got a deportation order because she missed paying a $100 fee.

“The issue was, in order to access the border to make that application, she had to have a visa, which she didn’t have. Because of that, she didn’t have a visa, that triggered an exclusion order which meant she was to be scheduled for removal as quickly as possible. There was some negotiation but they settled on a removal for the 28th of this month,” said lawyer Luke Mcrae.

Sits interview with Mcrae, Vega asked Mcrae to help her.

Mcrae challenged the exclusion order, and submitted a temporary resident permit application for Vega.

He also asked Canada Border Services Agency to defer Vega’s deportation.

“Everyone who looks at the facts would understand that this shouldn’t be happening. We shouldn’t be deporting a nurse in the midst of the pandemic. The issue was we needed someone to take a look at these humanitarian factors.”

When Filipino-Canadians in B.C. learned of Vega’s plight, community leader Narima Dela Cruz acted to help stop Vega’s deportation.

Dela Cruz got in touch with several members of parliament, including the MP in Vega’s riding in King-Vaughn, Ontario.

Within days of Dela Cruz’s email, MP Debbie Schulte reached out to immigration Canada, and the deportation order was lifted.

Mcrae said Vega was very happy with the decision, and wanted to go back to work in the ICU as soon as possible.

He added that the actions made by Dela Cruz and Vega’s MP certainly helped in getting the order lifted.

“I’m very grateful for how quickly the government responded to this situation and I have to think that the one that made a big difference is people reaching out and letting the government know that this is not, this is not a decision that makes sense, particularly in these circumstances.”

Vega also has a pending application for permanent residency in Canada.

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  • Mario
    14 April 2020 at 3:44 am - Reply

    On November 11, TRUMP signed a VISA SANCTION to any foreign country, if they don’t want to accept their returning citizen being deported. Two Guatemala and 1 Honduras Illegal Alien in NewYork, with CV19, are being deported and their home country, tried to delay the deportation. Because of VISA Sanction, US Gov’t will not allow their citizen as a tourist to come to the US. This will win votes, foods and medicines should be given first to American and US migrants.