Langley’s José Figueroa celebrated last December after stepping outside Walnut Grove Lutheran Church for the first time in two years. Now

José Figueroa awaiting Canada work permit

After nearly two years in sanctuary, Langley father of three is anxious to return to his job, but needs government to issue papers


It’s been a  three and a half  months since José Figueroa got his first taste of freedom after spending two years in sanctuary at his Walnut Grove church.

Since then, Figueroa has spent his days with his wife and three kids, adapting to life without fear of being arrested by the Canadian Border Services Agency.

But the Langley City man’s struggles aren’t over yet.

Figueroa has been waiting for a work permit so he can return to his job and provide for his family.

When he was granted a ministerial exemption of his deportation order at the end of December, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) indicated it would expedite the work permit, saying it should take about 45 days.

Figueroa filed the required documents in early February but, still, no work permit has arrived.

“I really want to get back to work. I’ve tried to find out what the hold up is but I haven’t heard back,” said Figueroa.

Figueroa’s former employer, Roland Houle, president of Global Decking Systems, had been holding his position for him but can’t any longer.

“We were more than willing to hire him back. We’ve been holding the position for José, waiting for him to get his work permit,” said Houle.

“But now we are going into our busy season and we need to hire someone.”

Houle said Figueroa worked for him for almost three years and he was pleased with his work. He was looking forward to having Figueroa to help with the workload.

Supporters of Figueroa have started a petition, backing his efforts to get a work permit and to finalize permanent residency status. The petition can be found here, or on the We Are Jose Facebook page.

In the meantime, Figueroa is still fighting in federal court to have them formally recognize that he or the FMLN (the current government of El Salvador) is not on any Canadian list of terrorists. His affiliation with the FMLN, a group fighting the violent dictatorship in El Salvador during the civil war in the 1980s, was what caused the Canadian government to deport him after 16 years of living in Canada.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Wind warning has ended for Metro Vancouver

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast

Langley junior curling champs defend title in Quebec

Defeat of their cousin’s team has secured Tardi brothers and the rest of the team in today’s finals.

Langley Clothes by the Pound closes

Thrift store that tried to introduce a new approach to bargain hunting may have gone out of business

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blanked by Portland Winterhawks

Saturday’s 2-0 setback marks first regulation loss for G-Men in 10 games

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Most Read