Daryl Hegarty wanted his wife and son in Orillia to see his home country, but it wasn’t supposed to happen like this.
In 2015, Hegarty came to Canada from Ireland on an open work permit, allowing him to stay for two years. While in the area, he met Hannah Byers. They were married last April and have a seven-month-old son, Logan.
After half a year of trying to obtain permanent residency, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) refused Hegarty’s request for a visitor record, which would have allowed him to stay in Canada longer while he continued to work on his application for residency.
In late April, he was told he had 30 days to leave the country.
On Monday, Hegarty, Byers, their son and their cat and dog will board a plane for Dublin, where they’ll start anew the process of obtaining permanent residency for Hegarty.
“I feel like someone spat in my face. I feel betrayed,” Hegarty said.
In its refusal letter, the IRCC states, “Based on your application and accompanying documentation that you have provided, I have carefully considered all information and I am not satisfied that you meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. Your application as requested is therefore refused.”
What baffled Hegarty were the reasons given.
“They’re all completely irrelevant. It doesn’t say which one, if any, actually applies to us,” he said. “It just says those are things they look for.”
The letter goes on to state, “In reaching a decision, an officer considers several factors, which include the applicant’s:
- 1. Reason for original entry and reason for requested extension;
- 2. Ties to country of permanent residence, including: employment and study commitments; family ties and responsibilities; and status (citizenship or immigration status);
- 3. Financial means for the extended stay and return home;
- 4. Travel and identity documents;
- 5. Probability to leave Canada at the end of authorized stay.”
When Hegarty’s open work permit expired, he got a visitor visa. That meant he could no longer work in Canada, but he had been saving money as well as receiving support from family in Ireland.
“I was able to show that I had more money than (required),” he said.
He also has people willing to sponsor and employ him in the area.
“I don’t understand how someone in an office somewhere, without a name, can tear me away from my wife and family,” he said of the letter writer, identified only as “Officer TTO.”
“I don’t understand why the person who decided this can’t speak to me and explain it,” he added.
An IRCC official told OrilliaMatters, “Due to privacy laws, IRCC cannot comment or provide details of individual cases without their consent.” (A consent form was provided, but it would have been too late to fill out and receive a response on the Friday before the long weekend.)
Hegarty and Byers sought assistance from Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton’s office.
“We got the same message: They can’t do anything,” Byers said.
In an email, an official with Stanton’s office said staff “reached out to officials in (the IRCC) in order to seek clarification and learn the relevant information on a sponsor or applicant’s file or application.”
“We then communicated our findings to Mr. Hegarty and Ms. Byers. In these cases, our office customarily continues to follow up on any questions they may have. However, we are unable to intervene when an application is part of an appeal or judicial process.”
Stanton’s office “can help inform but we cannot waive the rules or laws that apply in these cases,” the official wrote.
The process has cost the couple time, energy and money, but they’re not giving up.
“Our intention is we’re coming right back as soon as possible,” Byers said. “We will be living in Canada, hopefully, by the end of this year.”
While it’s been a “deflating” experience, Hegarty is looking forward to returning to Orillia, where he has enjoyed living and volunteering.
“I love it here. It’s a wonderful place,” he said. “It feels like home here and I feel like I’m being rejected from it. That’s a hard thing to deal with.”