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Adds Sarah, "It was pretty amazing, it was definitely a karmic sign."
Eric also discovered that once he was in Canada, he could apply for another TRP while staying in the country under an "implied status" due to the long processing time.
Then another fateful thing happened.
Eric works for the Super Bowl every year in transportation management and, not willing to give up that opportunity, he informs the company he may not make it as he cannot leave Canada while his TRP application is being processed. He is told the deadline to pull the pin is Dec. 20, 2011.
"I was plugging along working," says Sarah. "Dec. 20 comes and Eric asks: 'Have you been to the post box?'"
She opens the post box, "and there is the work visa, there is the extension of the TRP and a cheque for $200 from the Canadian government, which was for an application we made that they didn't give us."
Welcome to Canada.
But they're not completely on dry land, yet.
The couple have a hearing set with the immigration appeal division to appeal the original denial of the permanent residence application. The hearing is on March 6 in Vancouver and they hope it will streamline the whole process. If successful, Eric will get permanent residency.
So what makes it worth the hassle?
"Maybe we both love a challenge in a sense," says Sarah. "It has been tough, but it doesn't seem to have made either of us want to stop doing it. Somehow, I guess, we just see a future together and have common goals. Obviously there is lots of love there, and love conquers all, right? If you are in a relationship and you make a commitment, then in my view, this is probably a minor bump in the path of life."
Eric agrees. "I knew it wasn't going to be easy but wanting to continue to move forward with the relationship, it seemed like a natural progression. I knew (the relationship) was worth fighting for. This is a great area and it has a future for us, and (Sarah) is awesome."
They maintain that determination was key to their success.
"We would finally clear a hurdle and put the immigration stuff away and then something cropped up again," says Sarah. "It is taxing and tiring. Now we can do something more interesting in our evenings, instead of work on immigration stuff.
"It is super expensive to swap countries, you have no credit rating and you have to start from scratch," she adds. "I feel it gives me incredible insight to the people who are coming to Canada from all over the world — people must be working so hard and sacrificing so much."