Refugee stripped of right to stay in Canada after visits to parents when
Afghan native Obaidullah Siddiqui was stripped of his right to stay in
Canada because he returned to his war-torn homeland to visit his parents.
Obaidullah Siddiqui, shown with two of his three children, daughter, Abedah, 13,
and son, Ozair, 12, is fighting to stay in Canada after his permanent resident
status was stripped because he returned to Afghanistan to visit his parents. (SUPPLIED
Sometimes, going home can have terrible consequences.
Afghan native Obaidullah Siddiqui learned that the hard way when the former
refugee was stripped of his right to stay in Canada because he made the
mistake of going back — three times — to his war-torn homeland to visit his
After living in exile in Pakistan for two decades, Siddiqui and his family
were resettled to Canada as permanent residents by a private sponsorship
group in January 2011.
But as his marriage started to crumble amid the chaos of the resettlement,
the 49-year-old Surrey, B.C. man said he took three separate trips back home
— two accompanied by his children — to visit his parents in Herat and to get
their help in saving his marriage.
In November 2013, immigration officials initiated what is known as a
“cessation application” and later stripped Siddiqui’s permanent resident
status on the grounds “he was found to have re-availed himself of
Afghanistan’s protection” and his life would no longer be in danger there.
As a result, Siddiqui became the first case where a sponsored refugee
arriving as a permanent resident was stripped of his status, and faced
removal under changes the Tories introduced in 2012 to immigration laws to
make losing permanent residence automatic in such circumstances, with no
“This has broken me. I am going through extremely hard times mentally,
emotionally and psychologically. I am being separated from my three lovely
children and I am facing an ambiguous future,” said Siddiqui, who fled
Afghanistan for Pakistan in 1987 before he came here.
“Imagine living with no status, no permission to work, not being able to be
with your children and having nowhere to go.”
The number of cessation applications by immigration has skyrocketed from 30 in
2012 to 256 in 2015. Although officials targeted former refugees who were
granted asylum in Canada, resettled refugees such as Syrians who recently
arrived are not immune.
With the new Liberal government in power in Ottawa, the opposition New Democrats
have brought forward a private member’s bill to repeal cessation provisions of
the law and suspend these cases until the legislation is passed.
“No matter that the conditions of the country of origin have changed. No matter
that you are going back to see a dying relative for one last time. No matter
that the law did not exist at the time of travel. You are at risk of losing your
permanent resident status,” said NDP MP Jenny Kwan, her party’s immigration
“My bill will eliminate this unfair and unjust law created by the former
Conservative government. This is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money. The
government should instead redirect those resources into processing backlogs in
family reunification cases.”
Cessation applications by the numbers
Immigration officials have filed a growing number of applications to strip
refugees of permanent resident status through what is known as a cessation
Siddiqui has taken his case all the way to the Federal Court of Appeal, arguing
he should be excluded from cessation proceedings because he arrived as a
permanent resident under the humanitarian protected person abroad class, instead
of going through a refugee determination process pleading for Canada’s
However, in its recent decision to reject Siddiqui’s appeal, the court said
there was “no reason why the principle of re-availment and its associated
criteria should vary according to the route by which status as a protected
person is originally obtained.”
In a similar case following the cessation proceeding against Siddiqui, Jose de
Jesus Bermudez was resettled to Vancouver in 2006 from Colombia, where he and
his family members were the victims of paramilitary violence.
In 2014, officials initiated cessation proceedings against him because he
declared in his citizenship application that he had visited Colombia twice — in
2008 and 2009 — to meet and marry his then-fiancée.
In Bermudez’ case, the court also sided with the government and concluded it
must respect the policy choices of Parliament and apply the law as it stands,
despite humanitarian considerations of the consequences.
“It is open for Parliament to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
such that permanent residence status not be lost in the event of a favourable
cessation application,” the court said in a decision in April.
Douglas Cannon, Siddiqui’s lawyer, said Canada cannot just arbitrarily remove a
former refugee’s permanent resident status.
“You can’t just assume once you are a refugee, you will always be in danger,”
said Cannon. “Danger comes and goes. You offer people protection at the point of
time they need protection, and you let them move on.”
What is worse, Cannon said, is his client actually contacted immigration before
visiting his parents and was advised he could travel to Afghanistan and return
provided he had his permanent resident card with him.
Meanwhile, Siddiqui is still fighting to remain in Canada to be with his sons,
Obair, 17, and Ozair, 12, and daughter, Abedah, 13.
“The war and insecurity still exists in Afghanistan and it is not safe to live
and work there. No one is safe there,” said Siddiqui. “I was not a convention
refugee but a permanent resident in Canada. I acted as such. I don’t know why
immigration put me in this situation.”
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Another classic example of Male Sharia Law in practice.
If he was a she, the decision would be far different. Firstly, his marriage
failed most probably because of their immigration to Canada
where she was most likely "coached" into leaving the relationship by those who
are parasites upon immigrant women
for their own extreme feminist views of women as victims, which might
or might not be the case in this story.
The story so far, does not give any indication that his wife is a victim in any
The real victims are the children and its an example of how Canadian society
works to destroy children's relationships with their father.
Ottawa Mens Centre