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Iranian family living in Ottawa can stay in Canada for now but still can’t work

Despite losing their status, an Iranian family living in Ottawa for several years can stay in Canada for now, a government department said Friday.

Hamid Ahmadpanah and his wife Shohreh Aghababaei shared their plight with CTV News Ottawa on Thursday. The couple says they’ve been confused by immigration rules, and because of failed work permit extension applications they’ve lost their status. The two have both lost their jobs, can’t work and are worried they’ll be homeless if something isn’t done.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in a statement late Friday that, "removals from Canada to Iran are currently paused…due to the humanitarian crisis over there. The removal of individuals would resume once the situation in their country stabilizes."

The statement came on the same day the couple brought their young Canadian children to the Prime Minister’s Office in downtown Ottawa.

"We’re here in front of (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau office and Parliament to show people what’s going on in our family," Ahmadpanah said. "(To) ask Justin Trudeau to do an action to protect my children and preventing any bad things happen to my family."

A permanent residency application was started two years ago but is still being processed. They say they’ve been told a new work permit application would take until 2024.

"The only things we want to have a normal life with other people… just to work, have a normal life with our kids, have a happy family. Is it that much? I don’t think so," Aghababaei said.

She said it is hard explaining the situation to her children.

"We don’t have any explanation for my little one. She just keeps asking why we are here. What should I tell her?"

"There’s no answers to her", said Ahmadpanah. "How can I answer what we are here… so you’re Canadian but you have to fight with government to get your rights back and keep you so that’s not easy at all."

The couple has reached out to the Ottawa-Vanier MP Mona Fortier for help but have not received a response. CTV News Ottawa also reached out to Fortier’s office multiple times and was told the Treasury Board President would not be commenting.

The family has received offers of accommodation should they need it but Ahmadpanah hopes the government will step in.

They plan to return to Parliament Hill on Monday. Top Stories


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