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

  • Police shoot, kill teenage girl in Columbus, Ohio: report

    World News CTV News
    COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Police shot and killed a teenage girl Tuesday afternoon in Columbus just as the verdict was being announced in the trial for the killing of George Floyd. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was at the scene Tuesday night on the city's southeast side, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Source
  • Ontario hospitals hit by COVID-19 transferring record number of patients around province

    Canada News CBC News
    Ontario hospitals are transferring an unprecedented number of patients within the province as the COVID-19 pandemic puts intense pressure on the health-care system. Doctors say the record number of patient transfers is happening as hospitals face a surge in hospitalizations and admissions to their intensive care units in the third wave. Source
  • Raiders get backlash for tweet after conviction of Derek Chauvin

    World News CTV News
    HENDERSON, NEV. -- The Las Vegas Raiders got angry backlash for a tweet the team sent after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd. The tweet sent by the team's official account on Tuesday said "I CAN BREATHE 4-20-21. Source
  • Seafarers' union demands vaccine plan for 15,000 marine workers after COVID outbreak on Atlantic Huron

    Canada News CBC News
    The union that represents 15,000 Canadian marine workers is demanding the government come up with a plan to vaccinate seafarers after the most recent COVID-19 outbreak on the Atlantic Huron, a Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier. Source
  • A68, the world's largest iceberg, has finally melted

    World News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- An enormous Antarctic iceberg that became the most well-documented iceberg in history has melted into nothing in the Atlantic Ocean. The 6,000 km² chunk of ice, known as A68, broke off from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in 2017. Source
  • Lawyer shifts legal fight from George Floyd to Pamela Turner

    World News CTV News
    MINNEAPOLIS -- The conviction Tuesday of former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin on murder and manslaughter charges for pinning George Floyd's neck with his knee was already drawing renewed attention to the legal fight in the death of another Black American, Pamela Turner. Source
  • Tears and relief sweep intersection where George Floyd died

    World News CTV News
    MINNEAPOLIS -- There was quiet, just for a moment, as hundreds of people standing in the intersection at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue crowded in to listen to the news. "They're announcing the verdict!" someone shouted, calling for silence. Source
  • Silence, then cheers: Relief washes over George Floyd Square

    World News CTV News
    MINNEAPOLIS -- There was quiet, just for a moment, as hundreds of people standing in the intersection at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue crowded in to listen to the news. "They're announcing the verdict!" someone shouted, calling for silence. Source
  • Families, doctors urge Alabama to reject trans treatment ban

    World News CTV News
    MONTGOMERY, ALA. -- Transgender youth, parents and advocates on Tuesday urged the Alabama House of Representatives, as well as the state's governor, to reject legislation that would ban the use of puberty-blockers or hormones to treat transgender minors. Source
  • 'A watershed moment': Canadians react to Derek Chauvin verdict

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Canadian politicians, activists and athletes reacted with grief and relief in response to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder conviction in the death of George Floyd. On Tuesday, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd on May 25, 2020. Source