For Wilmer Gonzalez, a Venezuelan citizen, attaining a Canadian Work Visa meant the chance of a better life for him, his wife and two children. Fleeing the political and economic turmoil in his country, Gonzalez saw Canada as the “Promised Land”. A country where he and his family would live a comfortable life, earning an honest living and ensuring a bright future for his children. Now in a very disturbing twist of fate, the Gonzalez family is facing possible deportation back to Venezuela.
Wilmer Gonzalez and his family moved to Canada over three years ago. They settled in Kindersley, a small town in west central Saskatchewan. Gonzalez works in maintenance for the Heartland Health Region at the hospital in Kindersley and a part-time with the local Salvation Army. With his wife unable to work, it meant Wilmer has had to hold the two jobs for the majority of his time in Canada, his work ethic and determination to provide for his family Gonzalez has little to complain about.
Inevitably, Gonzalez’s Work Visa was fast approaching its expiry. Gonzalez had no worries, and with all the confidence in the world proceeded to apply for a one-year Work Visa renew. Mr Gonzalez went through all the proper protocols and procedures and applied with Canadian Immigration. That was in early March 2017. It took until July 20, 2017, for him to get a reply. Needless to say, the results were not what he expected.
His application was denied as his permit had already expired by then. A valid permit is required for every renewal.
The denial led to Gonzalez having to leave his job, and his family was devastated. “I support everything for my kids and wife, “says Gonzalez. “ My wife can’t work and I’m working two jobs and now I have to stop. You can’t imagine that position. It’s really hard.”
In a heartbreaking turn of events, Gonzalez now has to contend with the notion of taking his wife and two children back to Venezuela. His daughter Oriana is five, and his son Javier is seven.
Currently, Venezuela is caught in turmoil, after the recent farce that was the referendum. The results of the referendum have led to police clashes with protestors. Posing a very bleak future for the Gonzalez family.
It’s really bad and I’m scared for my family because it’s not a safe place for my kids and my wife.”
The Gonzalez family is pleading their case to stay in Canada and in true Canadian spirit, so are the community members in the town of Kindersley. Incredibly, an online petition on change.org already has more than 450 signatures.
Bruce Falk, a family friend says Gonzalez plays a key role in the community and volunteers to help others by shovelling sidewalks and coaches the local under-14 soccer team.
Falk is quoted as saying “he epitomises what a Canadian should be and he is. He’s hard working. Contributes to the economy. His kids are so well-rooted here. It’s going to be a real shock when he has to go back.”
So far Gonzalez says he has spent well over $10,000 to complete immigration documents and applications.