Forced To Leave Canada Today

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Immigration Officials won’t bend rules to permit live-in caregiver to stay in Canada.

Laila Elumbra entered Canada legally on a work permit issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada under the Live-in Caregiver Program.

Under the program, live-in caregivers can apply for a Canadian permanent resident visa in Canada; but only after two years of caregiver employment, which must be completed within three years of their arrival in Canada.

In Elumbra's 22nd month of employment, disaster struck. She suffered a seizure and then lapsed into a coma. As she lay unconscious in a hospital bed for four months, her chances of meeting the 24-month requirement within the maximum of three years disappeared. And so, it appears, did her hopes of remaining in Canada.

Elumbra has since regained consciousness and will likely make a full recovery, but nonetheless Canadian Immigration Officials have sent her a Voluntary Departure Notice requiring her to leave Canada by August 10, 2006.

David Cohen, a Canadian immigration attorney at has expressed disappointment in the Immigration Department’s position, stating: “Before deporting anyone from Canada, Immigration Officials must examine any and all humanitarian and compassionate grounds that may exist for allowing the subject to remain in Canada. Surely, any reasonable person would conclude that Elumbra’s case calls out for compassion.”

Cohen went on to criticize the Live-in Caregiver Program in its present form adding that: “The program is an anachronism - a throwback to the era of indentured servants. In the bad old days, it was quite common for a labourer to work for someone for a specific period of time for little or no monetary pay in exchange for the bare essentials of life and passage to a new country. Most developed nations have moved on to a more equitable treatment of workers.”

It remains to be seen what Canadian Immigration Officials will do if Ms. Elumbra refuses to leave the country voluntarily.


The Canadavisa website is the largest on-line source of information about immigration to Canada. The site is the on-line presence of Campbell Cohen, Canada's leading immigration law firm, employing over 30 lawyers, paralegals and support staff who provide turnkey immigration services with complete preparation of permanent residency and temporary work permit applications. Campbell Cohen provides expert advice in preparation of the immigration process. In 1994, David Cohen launched and became the first lawyer to offer a full range of Canadian Immigration services to prospective immigrants and foreign workers over the Internet.

About David Cohen

Attorney David Cohen is a Senior Partner at the Canadian law firm of Campbell Cohen and Managing Editor of ’s newsletter. Cohen started his practice in 1976. He graduated from Montreal's McGill Faculty of Law, and is a member of the Quebec and Canadian Bar Associations as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Most recently, he was appointed a governor of the Fondation du Barreau du Québec.


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Gil Gruber
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