Two Female Nigerian Students in Canada face Deportation for Violating their Work Permit Order

Posted on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012 at 7:19 AM

By Adeola Adeyemo

There has been an outcry over the news currently making waves about two Nigerian girls facing deportation from Canada. The two girls, Victoria Ordu (20) and Ihuoma Amadi (21) are students of University of Regina have reportedly been seeking sanctuary inside a church since June 19, 2012.

The students are currently living in fear of being deported back home to Nigeria because they worked for two weeks at Walmart.

CBC reports that the students have been studying at the University of Regina for three years and their student visas do allow them to work, but only on campus.  Victoria is studying Theatre Arts, and Ihuoma, International Studies. However, they claimed they did not know of the restriction and worked for two weeks at a Walmart store, but stopped as soon as they learned of the rules.

They are both in Canada on full scholarships paid for by the Nigerian government.

According to Leader Post, last year, Ihuoma found a part-time job at Walmart and Victoria, at an agency that does demonstrations at the store. They were under the misapprehension that their Social Insurance Numbers allowed them to work outside the University. But that was not the case. Victoria quit after two weeks, as soon as she found out while Ihuoma discovered her mistake during her second week on the job — and was led away from her till in handcuffs by two Canada Border Services Agency agents.

They led me through the store, in front of everyone, and all the customers were looking at me like ‘What have you done?” she told Leader Post. “I just felt so embarrassed.”

They said they have been seeking sanctuary in the church for days, sometimes not going out at all or eating. “At times, we stay for days without eating because we don’t go outside,”  Ihuoma said at the church where they sleep on the floor.

The daily stress of it has, they say, been “hell.”

“This is a small mistake we made, and now everything is at risk,” Victoria told Leader Post, clasping her shaking hands in her lap. “It doesn’t make any sense. They’re looking for us like we’ve killed someone. We’re just students at university … but it’s like we’re running away and living in fear every day.”

The girls said they have written letters to the Federal Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to grant them pardons. However, in a later report by The Star Phoenix, their hopes were dashed when it was stated that the Immigration Minister does not hold the power to pardon the students who are seeking sanctuary in a church to avoid deportation.

To make matters worse, the Canada Border Services Agency recently released a statement that the girls have no right to sanctuary. The Agency’s spokeswoman Lisa White explained that “There’s no place in Canada where an individual can retreat and be immune from Canadian law.” She further stated that the Agency does not condone “any individual hiding in churches or other places of worship to avoid removal from Canada.”

Meanwhile, the girls have continued to gather support from fellow students, the University authorities and a Regina immigration consultant, Kay Adebogun who has taken on their case pro bono.

A Facebook group – called Students in Solidarity With Victoria and Ihuoma – has been formed by fellow University of Regina student, Stephen Davis. A look at the page shows that it already has 382 members, most of whom are students of the University who are working hard to get lots of signatures for their petition.

The University spokeswoman, Barb Pollock told Leader Post that while the school respects the fact laws have to be upheld, it is trying to advocate for a reconsideration of the girls’ case.

“We think that the penalty, perhaps, is a bit severe for the crime. Albeit that laws have been contravened, in light of what they have done to contravene the law, we would like them to have an opportunity to complete their education with us … (and) we think it is a harsh penalty to be deported,” she said

Walmart where the girls were illegally employed told Leader Post in an email that they were investigating the matter. “We take this matter seriously and we are investigating,” the email read. ”We have a process in place to ensure associates have appropriate documentation to work in Canada.”

Now, the girls’ fate still hangs in the balance. For them, the CBSA’s decision to deport them — which went to an admissibility hearing — is an over-reaction.

“It’s a huge deal to finish school, come back (to Nigeria) and help the country,” Victoria says. “Now to think we lose three years of our lives because of a small mistake? If there was a fine, a warning, that would be more reasonable. I just wish they could look at this from a human point of view.”

Photo Credit: IFPress

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  • 54 Comments on “Two Female Nigerian Students in Canada face Deportation for Violating their Work Permit Order”

    Comments
    • simdamsel September 22, 2012 at 7:50 AM

      There is notin someone will not hear in dis life especially from dis oyinbo, wat is d different btw working in d school and working outside d school , since working permit have been granted. Its just dat dis Nigeria govt are so annoyin ,and d fact dat dey don’t care abt d citizen and watever happen to them home and abroad if not one mumu country will have d nerves to say dey will deport someone u send on scholaship, just bcus dey were doing one sales worK outside d school. I think if anytin happen to d 2 girls their citizen living in Nigeria too should be made to pay for it. Just like d way south Africa issues were handle, with dat dey will respect us small. And to d girls God is ur strength.

      • Soraya September 22, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        No, they did not have a work permit- they were only supposed to work on campus- that was why they were granted an social security number but these girls decided to go after greener pastures in the name of earning extra money instead of making do and facing what they went to canada for in the first place!. The irony is that had they spent four years in canada and steared clear of trouble, they would likely have gotten their canadian residency permit in no time

    • signature September 22, 2012 at 7:56 AM

      ha’an! wat is all dis about??
      i swear this people are hell bent on giving Nigerians a tough time
      the girls are working to help themselves in a decent way and you are giving them trouble…mcheww the anger in my heart now cannot be over emphasized,
      it is evident that the government or the police force in canada have no other crimes to solve. gaaaaaah! i am just angryy!

      • e-bukun September 24, 2012 at 1:21 AM

        How are they bent on giving them a hard time? Read up on the law if you don’t know it. They probably were not paying attention during International Student Orientation because they ram it into your heads how you cannot work outside of campus without permission. In the states it’s either with CPT or OPT…no international student is exempt. So before you play the victim card, know the law.

    • tbn September 22, 2012 at 8:05 AM

      Heya, poor girls! I hope they get the pardon they’re looking for even though I know it would be hard. I’m surprised though that they didn’t know their student visas did not allow them work outside their school and that walmart didn’t take adequate precaution to check before employing them. I say so cos when I was in school in the US we were told clearly during orientation by the school immigration services that our visas didn’t permit us to work outside school and I think most schls do the same. Anyway sha canada is a different country so maybe they didn’t inform the girls. Then as for walmart not knowing its another error cos the social security card shd show that they’re not authorised to work without authorisation. Both sch and walmart were negligent in their duties IMO. However I really pray they’re not deported and allowed to complete their studies.

    • Kemi September 22, 2012 at 8:06 AM

      Oh dear! :( I just hope they are pardoned
      http://journeyofthechosen.wordpress.com/

    • naijasportsgists September 22, 2012 at 8:32 AM

      Canada and their shakara. You go to their embassy in Lagos is its trouble all through.
      http://naijasportsgists.wordpress.com/

      • Bongo September 23, 2012 at 9:28 AM

        Canadian visas aren’t issued to riff-raffs!

    • Turn turn turner September 22, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      Ok they broke the law but if all what is stated is true, then this is a bit over the top. Can they pls stop it with the witch-hunting already? Acting like they’ve committed first degree murder, ridiculous dot com.

    • THE SEEKER September 22, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      Canadian govt must be really crazy if not how can they be thinking of deporting nigerian student on scholarship merely bcos of mistake? Stupid people&they always talked about RACISM.

    • Cynthia September 22, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      This is preposterous ,as if we treat them likewise when they come to our country.wonder why we are being treated like as if we ain’t humans,in all these countries.hisssing big time.nonsense upon ingredient.

    • Brandigest September 22, 2012 at 10:31 AM

      Regina, Saskatchewan Province is exactly where I will be this Winter. In Canada you can only work inside campus for 6months, after that you will be given a work permit to work outside campus( I know of Masters studies). I wish their mistake wouldn’t get them deported. Nigeria High commisision should interven in this. http://www.brandigest.wordpress.com

      • Butterfly September 22, 2012 at 4:34 PM

        You won’t just be “given”. You have to apply for it!

    • tobi September 22, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      This is crazy…. D street is filled wif criminals and they giving des 2 girls grief for working. O ma ga o

    • i no send September 22, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      i feel sorry for them but nigerians studying abroad really need to be extra
      careful esp if you are on scholarship..because you have a whole lot to loose if you are deported

    • Amber September 22, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      Chei,see how dey show their faces o,after spending 3 yrs,they will now be deported to start all over in naija.i hope someone helps o,itz just so hard inside and outside naija,that u don’t know which is better.but sometimes it’s good to do the right thing,although people might call u names but at least u will have peace of mind

    • Jamu September 22, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      From a Canadian point of view; working outside campus might look as though the girls were interested primarily in employment as campus work is usually restricted/monitored to 10-20hrs/week! Furthermore, how can bright girls -in the country for 3yrs- be unaware of their visa restriction(s)? Canadian immigration rules may be too strict and perhaps unfair (from an African point of view) but they exist to be respected….

      • Butterfly September 22, 2012 at 4:44 PM

        Thank you! I agree. How have you lived in a country for three years and you don’t know you’re not supposed to work off-campus? I think it was a very misinformed decision they made especially given their delicate immigration status. Furthermore, aren’t they on a full scholarship? 10.25/hr ON CAMPUS doesn’t seem like a terrible deal to me especially when you don’t pay tuition. Also, ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. The Canadian government doesn’t owe them anything; although I think it would be great if they pardon them and deport them after they graduate.

        • Ready September 22, 2012 at 6:26 PM

          Same here. I do think the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, but no way do I believe that these girls didn’t know they weren’t allowed to work off campus. C’mon, I’m sure that even if they didn’t hear it during student orientation, they would have heard it from other international students. Heck, even those stamps on your Social Security card (in the US’s case) would make it very obvious. I feel like they knew they were wrong but because a lot of people do it, they hoped not to get caught.
          These countries are not playing anymore. Many of their citizens consider there to be an immigration problem, especially with this recession and fewer available jobs…they are def looking for scape goats, and as international students, people have to be extra cautious. I really wish these girls the best, but an offense is an offense.

    • Kay September 22, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      I live in Canada and I tell you, this year, the country isn’t playing. I loved it here for the first 5yrs They have become soooo strict with their immigration laws and some rules made just don’t make any damn sense to me. Foreign policy is Cda is becoming very disgusting. I’m out of the place soon anyways. It’s not as if it’s only on foreign land one can excel.

      • Damsel September 24, 2012 at 7:38 PM

        Omo! better dey where you dey o! I live in the UK and pls it’s not any better, neither is the US. Infact Canada as at now seems to be the most linient on immigration policies than most other big cities abroad. Better chill for there or just go back to naija then

    • simon September 22, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      I feel sorry for the girls and hoping the nigeria governent should assit them but is good to know the immigration law of the foreign country before travelling .

    • Lindsay Schultz-Taylor September 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM

      As a Canadian Nigerian I find it really hard to believe that these girls did not know they had work restrictions. When I was a student in college I worked part time for the international student department in my school and work restriction was something hammered on and talked about so many times during international student orientation, but some students will not listen. Multipple emails are usually sent during the semester to international students about work restrictions but people think they can just go against the law. You are in your third year and claiming you didn’t know about the restictions. There are laws and restrictions and you are supposed to follow them, this is not Nigeria where everything and anything goes. Some students will go work off campus get into trouble and claim they didn’t know about the restriction. It’s pretty sad but that’s the way it works in Canada.

    • faith September 22, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      i pity them….i pray canadian govt allow dem finish their school…

    • towloo September 22, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      I feel sorry for them But lets be real these countries (US, UK,Canada) do not play with the violation of the student’s visa. I know a couple of people here in the States that have been deported for such similar cases. The truth is students aren’t supposed to have Social Security numbers except they are going to secure employment on campus. Seeking employment elsewhere is a violation of the benefit. The sad thing is that ignorance is not an excuse because it is always in fine print. I hope something works out in their favor.

    • PH Boy September 22, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      First of, i don’t think its right putting up their pictures like that. It is rather misleading. What they are going through can happen to anybody. It is so unfortunate. They only wanted to earn some legit money.
      What an irony.

    • Berry Choco-Latte September 22, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      Exactly what a couple of people said above – how could the girls not have known employment was restricted? And in their third year of school? There’s NO WAY. Yes, I think the punishment is quite severe, especially if they worked for only 2 weeks. But really, any international student department will tell you that you can’t work outside campus unless you’ve applied for and gotten permission – and in those cases, it’s an internship or co-op. Hopefully, the nigerian embassy in Canada can appeal on their behalf. :(

      http://ajebutternysc.blogspot.com

    • timma September 22, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      I pray God intervenes on their behalf,cos I know our Government can’t be bothered.

    • Sydney September 22, 2012 at 2:09 PM

      I attend a school in Canada as an international student. I receive emails from my school’s international students dept almost everyday telling us about off campus work permits.
      Every school is different but I have noticed that Nigerians do not ask the right people/ professionals certain questions. They always make important decisions based on hear say.e.g instead of going to your international student office etc to ask questions about work, you will prefer to ask a random Nigerian(who has lived in Ca longer than you). you don’t know if he/she is in Canada as a refugee or illegally. so many of us here do not follow the news regarding immigration in Canada. Canada doesn’t take immigration issues lightly and so it is not because they’re Nigerians. It’s sad we have to go through all of this because our nation is a mess.
      Nigerians learn to ASK professionals these questions because oyinbos are usually so stuck in their system and they expect you to be aware of them and follow them. This isn’t Nigeria where there are no laws and we can get away with acting based on our moods and can pay your way through anything.
      Anyway, there’s nothing God cannot do and I hope he grants these girls favor because they shouldn’t suffer this much for their mistakes. This a lesson to all of us here…learn to educate yourself. Education doesn’t start and end in the classroom.

      • t September 22, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        YOU SAY IT EXACTLY THE WAY IT IS!!!….While I feel sorry for the girls, I think after 3 years in Canada, they should have the rules in their head already. You can ONLY work off-campus with permission.,,,SSN or not. But Nigerians will always listen to ‘them say’. I pray they get pardoned.

      • pheona February 5, 2014 at 8:01 PM

        @ lindsay. hi. i don’t know if u can help on tips for obtaining student visa to Canada. i would like to get your personal contact if possible.thanks

    • lindiway September 22, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      wey i hope they will pardon you guys huh and try not to violet the laws of the white man cuz you guys know how they respect their rules

    • Jess September 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

      Oh please, it says boldly on your study permit that you are ony allowed to work 20 hours on campus without an off campus work permit. These girls just thought they were smart if you ask me.

    • Soraya September 22, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      I find it hard to surmount any level of sympathy for these girls- they are certainly not stupid but must have known that they were not supposed to work with their visas. Nigerians have a habit of playing fast and loose with immigration laws in other countries all the time. Harsh but unfortunately, Canadians are very strict about enforcing their immigration laws! Better luck next time

    • rew September 22, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      Rules are rules…every student in North America knows what the rules surrounding student Visa and work permits are. That being said, i feel bad for them cos many have done this and gotten away with it..its unfortunate that they are now the scapegoat

    • fiesty chic September 22, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      @jess you really read my mind. the work permit when given to students states that you can only work on campus. the girls just wanted to be smart and hope they wont be caught. and for those saying the canadaian govt is strict, they are the most straight forward people i know. as long as you stay consistent with your stories to them they will give you the permits you need if you give them the documentations required. right now they are trying to relax the rules surrounding certain immigration processes and i think that is a plus for immigrants. we Nigerians are always looking to put one over someone. unfortunately for them they have been caught. i can only hope they allow them continue their studies.

      • JJ September 23, 2012 at 4:31 AM

        You are right. We are too smart for our own good. It only works in a lawless nation where the newest and enforced laws do not make sense.
        We are always trying to outsmart people-necessary or not- because we are not used to living in a structured society. It always backfires when we are in these countries. I know we are not used to following rules but what is wrong with following these rules that are being enforced? Even when I’m about to board my connecting flight to Nigeria from Amsterdam, I see some of my fellow Nigerians trying to be “smart” by jumping the line. Why?? What is the queue for? Aren’t we are all boarding the same flight? Wait for your turn! You aren’t going to miss your flight!

    • Donalda September 22, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      I concur with Lindsay Schultz Taylor. Many Nigerians are truly undisciplined as a result of living in an environment where certain rules of behavior are not required of them.. And yes they fully expected ‘the sympathy’ fellow NIGERIANS’ would afford them..on the other hand if it was unwitting i can only pray they are let off.

    • Sunshine September 22, 2012 at 6:27 PM

      I cannot understand these girls, everyone who gets scholarships to 1st world countries usually have information regarding visa restrictions. Why did they have to violate the restrictions and in their 3rd year no less. I’m sad that they made the mistake but I don’t buy the fact that they didn’t know what visa restrictions were. Anyway, what’s so bad about completing their last year at a University in their home country? They were smart enough the acquire the scholarships, they should have been smart enough to adhere to the rules….

    • brittany September 22, 2012 at 7:51 PM

      the punishment is a bit severe..people do worse things..

    • Beediva September 22, 2012 at 8:32 PM

      This is a very sad case. I am quite confused though. I am a resident of Canada and there is no way you can get an outside job except with a work permit. A big company like Walmart should know this because I know even a restaurant owner will ask you to provide a work permit. I also know that effective 2006, you can apply for a work permit that allows you work outside of school after a year in school. I think there is more to the story or these girls are just going through unnecessary suffering. Well, to everything in life there is always a way.

    • Bims September 22, 2012 at 9:09 PM

      Deport them. This is a lesson to all unlawful naijas causing havoc in other peoples nationsi – with fraudulent and doing everything against the law.

      The whole should blacklist nigerians. BLACKLISTED nation.

    • Uche September 22, 2012 at 9:18 PM

      Nigeria a contry holding herself 4rm developing, sending her Citizen abroad to study nt taking proper care of them. Let me nt just go further on this,. Wat i sugest is dat dis young 2 girls hav nt commited any crime, why i said dis is dat they are ignorance of the law, so it wil be violation of human right if canadian govt deport them. My sugestion is for them to appeal to the human right organization to grant them bill.

    • Chikita September 22, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      These things happen,and Nigerians r funny. We read about Nigerians who committed fraud abroad to build mansions in lekki, and some of us let them off the hook, then harshly criticise young girls who WORKED to earn a living,albeit breaking some funny rules. Being on scholarships didn’t mean they were given money to clothe themselves feed or do some things a student would like to do for themselves. As per Soraya et al may I never meet u as boss, sister in law, mum in law etc to my kids or any of my family members. Amen

      • Lindsay Schultz- Taylor September 22, 2012 at 11:16 PM

        Chikita it is people like you that are destroying Nigeria; and you wonder why Nigeria is a third world country. There are rules, laws, and order here in Canada; if you follow the rules you will not have any problem. If you choose to be lawless and break the law then you face the consequences. If you want to be lawless go back to Nigeria where everything and anything goes, where you can run the red light and kill multiple people and get away with it. There are penalties and accountability here, each person is accountable for their actions. These young ladies were not supposed to be working off campus, they could have worked on campus and gotten paid $11 – $20 per hour but chose to be greedy and break the law. Now they are lying that they didn’t know about the rules. It’s clearly written on your permit card and discussed so many times during orientation but some Nigerians just love to break the law and then lie they didn’t know about it. Please it doesn’t work that way in Canada. There are some genuine Nigerians here working their tail off in college and you have these two young girls breaking the law and tainting the image of the few Nigerians that are genuinely obeying the law. You come here saying they were working to earn a living -Just to let you know these girls were working illegally and it’s a crime and there are penalties for that. There were Nigerians like this when I was in college they go work off campus and when they get caught they lie about not knowing the rules, there were some good ones too. Some of the good ones lived in wrecked up apartment during my college days because they chose to obey the law and not work off campus and it paid off, today all these genuine and good Nigerians that I met while in college are successful here in Canada. They might have had a difficult time in college but they are doing well today because they obeyed the law, some of the other folks that broke the law got deported back to Nigeria. We don’t need people like this that break the law as they wish, they taint the image of the few good Nigerians here. If you like to break the law and do as you wish please sit your butt in Nigeria and don’t come to Canada and destroy the image of the genuine Nigerians here. I can’t feel any sympathy or remorse for anyone that breaks the law. We also can’t be bending the rules for anybody, bending rules here and there causes lawlesness. The rules apply to everybody regardless of where you come from. If you were Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, e.t.c –you will face the same penalty, so it’s not because you are Nigerian. Obey the rules of the land and you will have no problem, break the rules and you will face full penalty and consequences. PEACE

    • tee September 22, 2012 at 10:39 PM

      come home now…..abi?

    • yellowgirl September 22, 2012 at 10:58 PM

      I agree. These girls thought they were smart. Nigerians always think they can beat the system. I schooled in Canada and the US, and they drum it into your ears that you are NOT allowed to work off campus! If these girls are too dumb to read and understand the laws, then they don’t even deserve to be abroad. That said, deportation is too strict! Maybe fine them heavily or a thousand hours of community service or something. I dont think they should be deported, but I do not buy the excuse.

    • Tiny September 22, 2012 at 11:57 PM

      I think there’s more to this story…..Canada isnt like the US or even the UK, I have been in Canada for over 5 years and I know that the immigration isnt harsh, not harsh enough to deport ppl for working for 2 weeks, with the pay cycle ina place like Wal-Mart, they wouldnt have received their pay check even! Maybe during tax season then they may have noticed, but immigration has better things to do than chase two girls for working in Wal- Mart of all places!!! THey must have done something way worse than this

    • Abby September 23, 2012 at 4:02 AM

      This thing is somewhat normal in the US. A lot of people in my school did it. Like work with their student visas outside of school. But you just have it to be wise about it. There are other jobs they could have done that would only require your employer to pay you cash e.g babysitting, tutoring high school students etc. I did that a lot while in school and I was earning $400 a week cash. I didn’t have to give anyone my social security and I made sure I only collected cash.

    • L.A Chick September 23, 2012 at 6:43 AM

      This is sad, I hope their case can be reconsidered… I came to the States as an International Student in UCLA and my status did not allow me to work off Campus. It was hard because I depended 100% from the money my parents were sending (no scholarship for me o!) But c’mon, it’s not like the girls were selling weed or something to survive!!! Dis Canadian sef, dis dey population is growing old and dey need immigrants to sustain this fastly aging population, make dem take am easy nah!!!

    • istidele September 24, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      who says crime doesnt pay, next time find a job at the strip club. im sure you’ll be safer there and wouldnt have to experience this uneccessary brouhaha

    • Lulu September 26, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      This is sad! Yes, the girls made a mistake, but the punishment is way over board. They should be pardoned and stripped of whatever monies they made on the job, that’s enough punishment!

    • okey October 3, 2012 at 9:43 AM

      why should they be working when they are on scholarship?they are still young to be after money!white men are not blacks,they will be deported cos they are not serious with their studies.

    • ihebom chidi October 11, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      Why can’t they work to assist themselves a little even if
      they are on scholarship?I remembered when i was in Ukraine Europe
      After the completion of my Diploma&certificate
      programs&the University authority together with the Ukraine
      ministries of Health&International education Granted me an
      international appointment&issued me an international legal
      license&authorization as one of their universities
      international representatives on international students recruitment
      but i told them that i must surely reach my home country Nigeria
      first before i can start my international appointed
      job&contract they gave to me&i did it&then
      come back obtained my resident permit before i started.These girls
      are not serious first with their studies rather they first
      concentrate on making money first upon they are on
      scholarship.