Common sense prevails a day after the Star reported on a Markham couple facing a lengthy appeal because a request for documents was lost en route.
Immigration officials do have the discretionary power to reopen a spousal sponsorship application that they had previously turned down amid a lost mail snafu.
A day after the Star reported the story of a Markham couple who were facing the prospect of a long appeal against the rejection, officials told them Thursday simply to submit the documents they had failed to send in because they never received the government’s request.
“Pending a final assessment of admissibility criteria to ensure that all requirements have been met, your permanent resident application may be ready for approval and visa issuance in the near future,” said the letter from the Canadian visa post in Hong Kong, dated May 8.
Although a final decision is still pending, Hung Yin Tsang, being sponsored by her husband, Alvin Faith Lam, said they were happy with the immigration department’s change of heart.
“We were thrilled when we opened the email. We are grateful that Citizenship and Immigration Canada has decided to take a common-sense approach with our case,” said Tsang.
“We were really worried. We would’ve had to wait for two years to get an appeal hearing and have the case reconsidered again.”
Tsang’s spousal sponsorship was rejected in February because immigration said she failed to respond to requests for her passport and police clearance from Hong Kong — demands the couple said they never received.
Immigration officials had refused to reconsider the application, arguing that the file had already reached the appeal tribunal and the couple must go through due process.
Tsang, 36, met Lam, 39, a Canadian expatriate in Hong Kong, in 1998. The married couple have two daughters, Krista, 8, and Patrea, 6, who were born in Hong Kong but are already registered as Canadian citizens thanks to their father’s citizenship.
Lam, a driving instructor, moved his family back to Canada last June while the spousal sponsorship application was in process.
“My husband works to support the whole family. We all live with his retired parents,” said Tsang. “I can’t wait to get my permanent resident status, so I can get a job and help support our family.”
The immigration department said it had no comment on why it changed its position on the couple’s case.