Abram-Village man desperately trying to stay in P.E.I. as deadline looms

Cody MacKay
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John Merx and his family showcase their pride on Canada Day back in July. P.E.I. has been their home for the last four years.

ABRAM-VILLAGE - Time is running out for an Abram-Village man and his five children who must earn permanent residency by Feb. 25 or be sent back to Germany.

Eddy Merx's voice trembles through the phone while listing everything that his family and the community of Abram-Village have done to achieve permanent residence status for the family.

Merx and his family moved here four years ago and have recently applied for permanent residence status. But, according to Merx, his application was stalled because he applied while living in Canada rather than from Germany.

To make matters worse, Merx's wife, the mother of their five children, returned to Germany two years ago, leaving the family for a man she met on the Internet.

Merx knew when his wife left that his application for permanent resident status was in danger. 

"I had to quit my job at the time and move to another job to spend more time at home and take care of the kids," Merx says. "Now, I can't apply for permanent status because I don't have a permanent job, which is not enough."

Despite their current situation, Merx admits community support has been overwhelming.

"People here take care of your kids, they look out for them," he said.

"Last year we had our Christmas tree up and you couldn't even see it because of the presents from the community."

People from Abram-Village, Wellington, Summerside and Charlottetown are offering to help his family with everything from donations to navigating government red tape.

Desperate to remain on P.E.I. and eventually become Canadian citizens, Merx and his family have built upon the community support and contacted the P.E.I. Office of Immigration and Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey.

"The community started a petition and dropped it off at Bobby Morrissey's office," Merx said.

Merx says he understands that Morrissey has detailed the Merx family's plight to Federal Minister of Immigration John McCallum and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Merx is optimistic that the government will grant his family permanent residency prior to Feb. 25, but he admits time is running out.

Merx acknowledges there is a real possibility he and his children will be heading back to a country they don't want to call home.

"I have to be ready for this because I don't know if the government can do anything at all." 

Twitter.com/Cody_MacKay

Organizations: P.E.I. Office of Immigration and Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey

Geographic location: Abram-Village, Germany, P.E.I. Canada Summerside Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Harald
    December 31, 2015 - 16:00

    Hi Eddy, I'm from Germany and came 23 years ago after a lengthy application process. Under what rules did you came to Canada in the first place? I think here is the problem. A country need to have the same rules for everybody who likes to live here. It call's "The Law" which should be followed by everybody, no matter where he is from. I'm really sorry for your circumstances. My advice: Go back and apply the proper way and you will get way more sympathy from the government for your cause. Hang in there and good luck....

  • Harald
    December 31, 2015 - 15:56

    Hi Eddy, I'm from Germany and came 23 years ago after a lengthy application process. Under what rules did you came to Canada in the first place? I think here is the problem. A country need to have the same rules for everybody who likes to live here. It call's "The Law" which should be followed by everybody, no matter where he is from. I'm really sorry for your circumstances. My advice: Go back and apply the proper way and you will get way more sympathy from the government for your cause. Hang in there and good luck....

  • Sasha
    December 29, 2015 - 11:25

    Unfortunately it is a very touchy process. My husband was granted permanent residency just this year and we applied from within Canada. It would have to be more than that that caused their application to stall. You have to cross your T's and dot your I's. Every step of the way is time sensitive. I feel bad for him and his family but everything is spelled out in the application. If you are applying from within the country (as we did) you do it "this" way. If you are applying from your home country you do it "that" way. The process is not quick and not cheap. I hope they get to stay but reading the directions would have saved a lot of problems for this family. This is the very same process EVERY family has to go through.

    • Eddy Merx
      December 29, 2015 - 17:26

      To Sasha: The Association for Newcomers helped with the application. They can read. An officer decided to deny it. The reason? Germany isn't a Country you have to expect any threats. But the Officers do not know the Law in Germany. What expect us there is: We will get one room for us (not one room for each) we have to share the bathroom with others, we will not get any social assistance for the first 8 weeks. That's the Law for German Citizen when they move back after a couple of years. So there was no mistake in the application.

    • Eddy Merx
      December 30, 2015 - 03:58

      Dear Sasha, the Association for Newcomers helped me with the application. So I guess there was no mistake in the application. We applied under the Humanitarian and Compassionate Consideration as we didn't fit in any other Immigration Program. They denied the application because I am German Citizen and therefore I would have to apply from outside Canada. Two years ago when my wife was still here, I was denied with my Provincial Nominee application because of not enough income. I had 5000 Dollar a month and I can proof that with my Tax papers. You cant compare your case with our case. The considered you as an sponsor for your husband. That makes it easy.

  • Catherine Parks
    December 28, 2015 - 21:10

    Our family can help in anyway possible. Can they not settle here as refugees? There has to be a way to help this man and his children.....

    • Eddy Merx
      December 30, 2015 - 04:09

      Dear Catherine Parks, the Country I came from is not on their List to apply as a Refugee. That's why we had t o apply under the Humanitarian and Compassionate Consideration stream. Even we applied for the best interest of a Child. They denied it. They don't care about what a Child is going through when we have to move back. The kids already lost on school year when we moved here. If we are moving back they will have to step down one Grade again because of the language.

  • Henry Arsenault
    December 28, 2015 - 20:50

    My Comment? why are they bringing in so many refuges and spending millions apon millions to resettle them here and turn around and wants to deport good hard working families ? what? is there no more room for them? he works, doesn't depend on welfare or unemployment,been a good upstanding person in the community, what does it take to stay?sooo many are helping them and feels they are worth it to be living in their community,so what is the problem? let them stay and give them a permanent status already.do the right thing and help them.

    • Dianne MacDonald
      December 28, 2015 - 23:31

      Totally agree with you. why some and not others? I get that one is a war torn country and the other not but this man has been living here and working. this happened to a lady living in Montague a couple of years ago. She was from South Africa and her husband had left her so they shipped her and her 9 year old daughter back to an area that has the highest crime rate in the world. Stupid!!