Couple seeks Ottawa's help to be reunited with four-year-old son in India

An Ottawa couple is calling on the Liberal government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help bring their four-year-old son to Canada, who they haven’t seen for more than two years after receiving "bad advice" from an immigration consultant.

See Full Article

Bhavna Bajaj will be presenting a petition with more than 11,000 supporting signatures at Langevin Block in Ottawa on Tuesday, before presenting it to Immigration Minister John McCallum.

The case stems from January, 2013, when Bhavna Bajaj and her husband, Aman Sood, arrived in Canada as permanent residents.

When they had first applied to immigrate to Canada in 2011, Bajaj was pregnant with her son in England. As the file was being processed, she gave birth to her son, Daksh.

When she told her independent immigration consultant in England that she now had a child, they told her she could go to Canada first and apply to sponsor her son afterwards.

Not knowing that this was breaking a rule with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, she and her husband decided to move to Canada first, thinking they would then apply to bring their son over.They eventually arrived in Canada in 2013, when their son was already two.

"It was the bad advice from the consultant I hired," she told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.

"My plan was for me and my husband to go first, we'll get jobs, and after two or three months, I'll bring my kid," she said, adding that her in-laws in India said they'd take care of Daksh for a few months. "That was the plan."

Matthew Behrens, a co-ordinator with the Rural Refugee Rights Network, told CTVNews.ca that the couple landed at the Montreal airport in January, 2013. After it was discovered that they had a child, but had not declared it in their application, the two were questioned for hours, he said.

Bajaj said that the immigration officials presented the couple with two options: go back to India and re-start the entire immigration application process or sign a declaration promising that they would never apply to bring their son to live with them. She said she signed the declaration after six to seven hours of stressful questioning.

The petition says that the family shouldn't be punished for an "honest" mistake.

"It was a simple, honest mistake, for which they have been punished for over two years by not being allowed to raise their baby boy here in Canada," the petition says.

Behrens, who helped draft the petition, said the couple, with the help of their lawyer, has appealed to immigration officials to grant their son a temporary resident permit on "humanitarian and compassionate" grounds.

However, the visa office in India has refused to handle the case, even suggesting that the boy apply to come to Canada as a skilled worker, even though he is only four-years-old, Behrens said.

Behrens noted that the Liberal government has shown its openness to immigrants and refugees, most recently with the Syrian refugees who have been arriving in the country in the past weeks. Now, the government should help reunite Daksh with his parents, he argued, adding that the couple have jobs, a home, and a spare bedroom "ready and waiting" for their son.

"All it takes is a simple signature from John McCallum, it's not a complicated thing at all," Behrens said.

Bajaj said her husband is currently in India visiting Daksh, and hopes to bring him to Ottawa when he returns on Dec. 26. She said she speaks with her son at least once a day on Skype, and hopes to see him soon.

"He's not going to be any harm," she said. "I am working here, my husband is working… I can take care of my kid."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • British foreign secretary 'positive and optimistic' on Trump

    World News CTV News
    Promises, pomp, protests as Donald Trump sworn in Latest updates: Trump returns to White House after celebrations Source
  • 16 killed in fiery bus crash on Italian highway

    World News CTV News
    ROME -- Italian police say 16 people died when a bus carrying Hungarian school students returning home from France crashed into the side of a highway near Verona. Thirty-nine people survived. Police commander Geralomo Lacquanita said the bus crashed and burst into flames just before midnight. Source
  • World jittery about Trump's 'America first' inaugural speech

    World News CTV News
    President Donald Trump's inaugural speech promised "America first" policy, but offered no specifics about America's place in the world. The billionaire businessman and reality television star -- the first president who had never held political office or high military rank -- promised to stir a "new national pride" and protect America from the "ravages" of countries he says have stolen U.S. Source
  • El Chapo's new home: a jail that held mobsters, terrorists

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- In the heart of bustling lower Manhattan sits one of the country's most secure federal lockups -- and the new home of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Guzman, who pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges he ran one of the world's biggest drug-trafficking operations, can expect to be kept in a special unit inside the drab 12-story Metropolitan Correctional Center, where such other high-profile, high-risk inmates as Gambino crime family boss John Gotti and several former…
  • 38 hospitalized after nightclub fire in Romanian capital

    World News CTV News
    BUCHAREST, Romania -- Authorities say 38 people have received hospital treatment after a fire broke out at a popular nightclub in the Romanian capital. The fire erupted early Saturday at the upmarket Bamboo nightclub in northern Bucharest. Source
  • Vancouver-area peak named for deceased search and rescue volunteer

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - A mountain peak on British Columbia's North Shore is being named in honour of a long-time leader in the province's search and rescue community. Premier Christy Clark has announced a 1,425-metre peak northeast of North Vancouver will be called Tim Jones Peak. Source
  • Police were hoping to rescue Likneses and Nathan O'Brien at Garland family farm, court hears [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Police conducted a frantic search of Douglas Garland's family farm in hopes of rescuing a Calgary couple and their grandson who had disappeared days earlier, court heard Friday. But Calgary police homicide Det. Mike Shute, who helped arrange the raid by the RCMP's emergency response team, said no one was found, dead, or alive, during the July 4, 2014, search. Source
  • Canadian caught with nearly 60 kilos of cocaine sentenced to 10 years in U.S.

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A 37-year-old Canadian who was caught with 59 kilos of cocaine has been sentenced to 10 years in jail in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The U.S. Department of Justice said Friday that Martin Briand, who is also a French citizen, was sentenced for conspiracy to distribute cocaine after the cocaine was seized in December 2009. Source
  • Women's March on Washington about much more than Trump

    World News CTV News
    Hundreds of thousands of women plan to march through the streets of the U.S. capital on President Donald Trump’s first full day in office, to send a bold message to the new administration: women’s rights are human rights, and the divisive tone of the campaign will not be tolerated in the nation’s highest office. Source
  • Canada's last Armenian genocide survivor dies at age 107

    Canada News CTV News
    A Montreal woman believed to have been the last Canadian to have survived the Armenian genocide died on Thursday, just weeks shy of her 108th birthday. Born in 1909, Knar Bohjelian Yemenidjian was only six years old in 1915 when the Ottoman Turks began their massacre. Source