After a long bureaucratic struggle, all members of the Fort family were together in Duncan for Christmas.
Lynda Fort, who was born and raised in Canada, said her 15-year-old son Liam arrived from New Zealand with his new Canadian passport just a few days before Christmas, and her husband Adam, a citizen of New Zealand, also arrived with Liam with a visa to spend the holidays with his family.
It’s the end of a time-consuming and stressful episode for the family as Lynda worked several months to obtain a Canadian passport for Liam, who is a Canadian citizen but was born in New Zealand.
In early December, it looked like Christmas would come and go before Liam would finally obtain a passport to travel to Canada as Lynda worked tirelessly, but with few results, to complete the seemingly impossible process of meeting all the requirements that immigration officials required.
Lynda longed to return to Canada after spending 16 years in New Zealand where she had two children – Liam and 11-year-old Rhea – with her husband Adam. Lynda and Rhea moved to the Cowichan Valley in June to allow her time to find a job, find a place to live and establish herself before her husband and son rejoined the family.
She tried four separate times to obtain Liam’s passport, and was told further documents were needed each time. On the last attempt, just weeks before Christmas, she was told that Liam had to actually be in the country to apply for a passport.
But she persisted and managed to manoeuvre her way through the many bureaucratic loopholes and Liam received his passport in time to be in Canada for the holidays.
“Having Liam here in time for Christmas was lovely,” Lynda said.
“I haven’t started the process of sponsoring Adam (to come and work in Canada) due to the costs and time involved in filling out forms when I work full time. Even if all went to plan, the processing time for a spouse sponsorship is a year.”
Lynda also said that to just start sponsoring a spouse costs more than $1,000, which is a lot of money on a teachers’ salary and considering the costs of the family starting all over in a new country.
“Of course, this just is the first payment and more payments are required for medical fees, police checks, qualification checks and more, so the $1,000 is only the first of many payments,” she said.