VANCOUVER - Jona Pineda is racing against time. Her work permit expired after her employer's application for a new labor market opinion (LMO) was rejected. Now, she and her family face outright deportation.
Because of stricter guidelines and a heftier application fee, Pineda said it has become more difficult for her to get a new labor market impact assessment (LMIA).
She was able to bring her family to Canada after working at restaurant chain Tim Hortons for three years. But she now worries how her children will feel if they are deported.
"Yun po yung medyo mahirap kasi po sa mga anak ko, ang nakakapagpahirap po for me and my husband is our kids, because they love to stay," said Pineda.
But immigration consultant Arlene Tungohan said there are still avenues open to Pineda.
One is through implied status which will allow her to stay for up to three months while her application is pending. If no decision has been reached after this time, Pineda can avail of the 90-day period of restoration.
But her husband will not be allowed to work nor her children allowed to go to school at this time.
"Pumunta ka doon sa mga employers who are willing to nominate you so malalampasan mo yung LMIA. Of course, the other option is to study. If you study, may portion ang study na magkakaroon ka ng work permit," said Tungohan.
With her youngest being born here, another way is for Pineda to apply as a permanent resident on grounds that this is in the best interest of a Canadian citizen.
Meantime, the Steel Workers Union vows to fight Pineda's deportation by asking the help of immigration lawyers.
The union maintains there are problems in the program and that temporary foreign workers should not be punished for this.
"Are we gonna apologize 20 years from now for essentially putting these people back on a ship and sending them back to their point of origin? I think that it's a tragedy and this government needs to stop and think about what it's doing here because it's definitely missing the boat," said Alex Hanson, president of the Steel Workers Union.
Pineda makes a last-ditch appeal to Minister Jason Kenney.
"First, I would like to say thank you that you let us, of course, get my family from the Philippines. I'm really thankful. I am just really hoping that you could give us more chance to stay here, especially for my kids," she said.