Canada’s immigration ministry on Wednesday rescinded a deportation order for a Portuguese man living in the country for 32 years.
A crackdown on immigration fraud had unwittingly snared Jose Pereira, 58, who said he was ordered out over an administrative gaffe.
Married to a Canadian woman, he had four children and several grandchildren in Canada and has never committed a crime.
Public broadcaster Radio-Canada said that his permanent residency card expired two years ago during a trip abroad and a replacement was not processed because Pereira did not reply to a letter asking for more information.
The letter had been mailed to him in Portugal, where he had been visiting his sick father, but Pereira had already returned to Canada by the time it arrived.
It wasn’t until this year, when he applied for Canadian citizenship, that he learned of the letter and the consequences of not replying: deportation for alleged “immigration fraud.”
Wednesday morning, 12 days before his scheduled flight to Portugal, after he sold off most of his possessions and rented a house in Portugal, an official called to say he could stay, he told Radio-Canada.
“It’s been a nightmare,” he said. “We sold everything… we have nothing left.”