Last Updated: Friday, January 30, 2009 | 1:02 PM ET
A Philippine nanny facing deportation says she was forced to work illegally because Immigration Canada took far too long to issue her new work permits.
Rolyn Mirano, a 39-year-old mother of two, came to Calgary in 2006 on a two-year contract to work as a live-in caregiver. She had plans to apply for permanent residency at the end of the term and bring her children to Canada.
But she started to run into problems when the family that had hired her decided to move to Mexico 11 months into her contract, leaving Mirano in Calgary to fend for herself.
She found another family to employ her, but before her new work permit arrived she started working for them illegally, she said.
By the time the permit arrived six months later, the family had decided to let her go, saying she was incompetent, she said.
However, they did help her find a third employer, but his application to hire a foreign caregiver was rejected because he had no children, she said.
Mirano found a fourth job, but before she received the necessary work permit, she was called by Immigration Canada and admitted to them she had been working without the proper paperwork.
"I've got no choice, I've got to survive," Mirano told CBC News.
Immigration lawyer Michael Greene said the case illustrates the unfairness of the system for temporary workers.
The government should speed up the permit process when workers, such as Mirano, are already in the country, he said.
"The government would be better off to prevent these abuses by having a system that was efficient," he said.
As it is, the workers are forced to find illegal work because they need money to live on, he said.
Immigration Canada has asked Mirano to leave the country in the next few weeks or face deportation, said Calgary regional director Robert Ferguson.