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Barbados native Brett Nightingale, a recent graduate from the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown, is fighting to be allowed to work in Canada as a vet. He is pictured with his girlfriend, Paige Gamester, a P.E.I. native who also graduated from AVC in 2018. – Contributed CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Inflexible immigration bureaucracy is being blamed in preventing an international graduate of a veterinarian program in Charlottetown from pursuing his desire to work in Canada.

Some bad advice from a P.E.I. agency that led to a missed deadline has left Barbados native Brett Nightingale scrambling to stay in this country, where he has a home, a girlfriend and a job.

“I have no status,’’ he says.

“I’m just trying to figure some way to appeal the decision because I was given terribly erroneous information.’’

Nightingale, 29, graduated in May 2018 from the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) with a doctor of veterinary medicine – a four-year program costing Nightingale $300,000.

Following graduation, Nightingale started work through an extended student work permit in Navan, Ont., in early June, working in production medicine at a clinic that services dairy farms.

He moved to Ontario with his girlfriend, Cornwall, P.E.I. native Paige Gamester, who also graduated from AVC last year and is currently working with a large animal clinic in that province.

Nightingale was relying on a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) to allow him to work for the next three years in Canada and to likely result in him transitioning to permanent residency.

However, Nightingale learned on Dec. 3 that his application for a PGWP was denied because he applied too late.

He alleges erroneous information from the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada (PEIANC) led to his current plight. He says was told by a staff person at the Charlottetown association he had until Dec. 31, 2018 – the expiration date listed on his study permit – to apply for the post-graduation work permit. In fact, he only had 90 days following completion of the vet program in May 2018.

PEIANC executive director Craig Mackie did not return Guardian calls seeking comment.

Nightingale says he hopes to continue living in Canada and forging a veterinary career here.

“It’s where I want to be,’’ he says.

“I love Canada. It’s a great place.’’ Atlantic Veterinary College Dean Greg Keefe says graduates from the well-acclaimed vet school have "100 per cent employment” in their field. He says it is "a shame” that recent graduate Brett Nightingale is unable to practice in Canada because he failed to comply with immigration requirements. AVC dean Greg Keefe says Nightingale is qualified to practise veterinary medicine anywhere in Canada and, he adds, Nightingale had landed a job with a very reputable dairy practice before running into the unexpected work permit hurdle.

“It’s a shame that he can’t practice his profession as he is licensed to do,’’ says Keefe.

“Obviously, he needs to comply with immigration requirements as they are laid out.’’ Re-application unlikely to succeed Nightingale has hired Earl Blaney, a licensed immigration consultant, in hopes of getting his post-graduation work permit and resuming employment in Ontario.Blaney says Nightingale could simply re-apply for the PGWP but believes he would be unlikely to succeed due to a ruling in 2016 that has made it far more difficult for students who had their post-graduation work permit refused due to error on forms, lack of documents or late application.Blaney believes the best chance Nightingale has at getting his PGWP is in garnering discretionary action from the minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.“Here we have a young, productive man that is clearly ready to contribute to the Canadian economy in an area of acknowledged skill shortage, who […]

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