BY LARISSA CAHUTE,
After five long years of fighting the legitimacy of her marriage, Harpreet Sandhu can finally look forward to “starting a really happy life” with her husband and two children at home in Surrey.
On July 24, Sandhu finally won a federal-court case to bring her husband, Harpreet Singh, to Canada.
She had been fighting for his sponsorship since they married in India in January 2010, but Citizenship and Immigration Canada repeatedly denied the couple’s applications.
In its reasons for dismissal, CIC stated that the marriage was “not genuine” and “entered in bad faith … primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege.”
These reasons were continually issued over the past five years, despite the fact the couple had two children (three-year-old Kashvi and 11-month-old Tevin) and that Sandhu constantly travelled back and forth to India for months at a time just to keep her family together.
By September 2014 she took her case to federal court and the decision was finally reversed last month.
“It’s been hard,” Sandhu said of the past five years without her husband.
Travelling to India was also difficult on her health because she’s diabetic. On her most recent visit she fell so ill she was hospitalized and her mother, Paramjit Sandhu, had to travel to India to help get her back home.
“It’s been really hard,” her mother told The Province. “Their anniversaries are coming up, or the kids’ birthdays — it’s like she’s celebrating them by herself.
“He’s missing all this stuff in his kids’ lives.”
Singh also missed the birth of both his children.
According to Sandhu’s immigration consultant, Mumtaz Khan, this is the most drawn out case like this he has seen.
“The longest — bar none — that I’ve dealt with,” he said. “The cost is enormous … they’ve spent $40,000 to $50,000 now to get to his stage.”
Unable to get a job because she travels so much to visit Singh, Sandhu fortunately received financial help from her parents and extended family so she could keep the case going.
“(The government) really dug their heels in and continually fought and fought … despite the fact that I provided a plethora of evidence,” said Khan, adding that he made available email exchanges between the couple, money transfers, as well as phone call and Skype call logs.
While the federal court ruling was a big win for the family, Khan expects the consulate in India will “drag their heels,” meaning it could take up to a another year before Singh can finally immigrate.
“External pressure is the only way we can get it sped up,” said Khan, adding that they’re waiting for the federal election to wrap up so they can get help from local MPs.
“(It’s) the final journey,” he said. “Hopefully it’s over and the son-in-law, Harpreet’s husband, the father to her two children, will be here.”