I majored in art at Korea’s number one art university. I worked at an advertising company for a while and I decided to open my own advertising company. The company was not in great success but I was able to make a good living.
Just before 1997, Korea’s economy was sliding down hill and practically every company suffered. Before IMF crisis in 1997, I and my family took a trip to Canada mainly because of my daughter’s sickness. I wanted to give my daughter a relaxing time with fresh air.
While we were traveling in Canada, I heard news from Korea that one of my company’s cheques got bounced. In Korea, writing bad company cheques are charged criminally. I could not go back to Korea.
I had to find a way to stay in Canada legally. In one day, through someone’s introduction, I met an immigration broker and we were able to get the work permit and study permits for my children. I paid him $20,000 for this. I did not know it was done illegally. Anyway I was happy that my family was able to work and study.
Later on, there was an article about illegal immigration scandal on a Korean newspaper in Toronto. Apparently there were about 80 families were involved. I did not think I was one of them. But I was.
RCMP officers came to knock on my door and asked me to be a witness for the trial. I said that I would give full co-operation.
The trial dragged for three years. After the three years, RCMP asked me to leave Canada since my duty was over. They ordered me to leave. I could not go back to Korea so I filed the refugee claim.
Our refugee claim got rejected in one year and a half later. We were ordered to leave on January 01, 2007 and received the direction to leave on Dec. 15, 2006. I gave up on everything and did not know what to do. In that moment one of my colleges in the office introduced me to Lee & Company. I knew there was no hope but I went to Lee & Company anyway. Lawyer Ms. Lee told me that there was 99% no chance.
I thought so and I came back home. Little later there was a phone call from Lee & Company. They said that there might be a way and worth trying. I said O.K. They said that there was only 1% chance so pray a lot as I was a devoted Christian.
But it was Christmas time. Many people were on long holiday. It looked like my legal team was in full gear on my case.
There was no news until late afternoon of the Dec. 31, 2006. I was restless. I almost give up and decided to go home from the office. In that moment I got a call from Lee & Company. “Congratulations Mr. Hwang.” I heard the voice from the other side of the line.
Now, I and my family members are citizens of Canada and we live happily.
I once again, thanks to Lee & Company.
Hwan Young Hwang