Lethbridge – British citizen Jason Pearce is battling the frustrations of being over 6,700 kilometres away from his daughter, Jessalyn, after having his permanent residence delayed by immigration services upon separating from his wife.

“(Jessalyn) is a Canadian-born child, what has that child done to deserve this? To be without her father,” he said.

Pearce lived and worked in Canada for seven years and married a Canadian woman, Kassandra John. John gave birth to their daughter more than four years ago.

However, when Jessalyn was just six months old, Pearce and John separated. Because of the change in marital status, Jason’s permanent residency application was denied.

“My wife phoned up the immigration and told them that our circumstance had changed. This was about 15 months into the ‘sponsor me as a spouse.’ The immigration sent back the papers to me and my money. No longer was I getting my permanent residency,” Pearce said.

Search for alternatives

He spent the last 10 months an ocean away from his young daughter after he was denied the right to continue working in Canada.

Pearce looked for alternatives to stay in Canada, and was granted a self-employed entrepreneur visa.

“I went down to the Crowsnest Pass, opened up a restaurant and bar down there and it unfortunately didn't work,” he said.

Pearce searched for other ways to stay in the country after his restaurant shut down last December. He reached out to an MP but the news wasn't good.

“He had spoken to the prime minister about my story … and (the prime minister said) that I could support my child from England,” said Pearce.

Pearce now sends monthly cheques from England to help support John and four-year-old Jessalyn.

“To this day I can't understand why a country like Canada would split a family up.

“If I can support my child in the country that she is born, why can't I be there? I want to work, I want to support my child, what's so unusual about that?” he said.

'No longer eligible'

According to officials with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the citizenship status of children does not affect the processing time of a foreign national parent’s application for permanent residence.

“He applied to extend his work permit as a sponsored spouse, but as he was no longer being sponsored through Family Class, he was no longer eligible for an open work permit. This application was refused in October 2016. He has not applied for another work permit since that time.”

Pearce said because of the treatment he’s received from the immigration department, he can’t see himself living in Canada again, but he is looking forward to seeing his daughter in the spring when she is expected to travel to the U.K. for a visit.