Surjit Bhandal gets to stay

After four-year fight, Indian woman facing deportation will remain in Capital Region

Surjit Bhandal is staying home.

The 84-year-old former Langford resident, who has lived under the cloud of possible deportation back to India since 2010, got the news this week that she’ll be allowed to remain living with her nephews in Greater Victoria.

Esquimalt Juan de Fuca MP Randall Garrison, who has been working on the family’s behalf since early 2012, is pleased she’ll be able to live out her life in Canada with family members she has raised.

“Like all too many families, the Bhandals have had to live with uncertainty for far too long before getting a decision,” he said. “It is sad that it took such intense lobbying and nearly three years to get this positive decision.”

Despite raising her nephews because their mother was severely disabled, Bhandal’s nephews were unable to sponsor her to Canada, beginning a years-long battle to keep the family together.

The family, now living in Saanich, has received increasing support from the community including the Sikh temple, immigrant and refugee organizations and more than 5,000 people who sent letters lobbying for her permanent residency, granted this week by the federal Immigration Ministry.

“The support of the community for the Bhandal family played an important part in this final positive outcome,” Garrison said. “And I thank the community for such a strong show of Canadian values of compassion and fairness.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com