Son's Autism Forces Family to Leave Canada





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Published on Mar 27, 2012

UVIC -- A popular professor at the University of Victoria is leaving his job and the country after his son's medical condition lead to immigration problems.

In 2010 Dr. Jeffrey Niehaus' son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. His family was working to become Canadian citizens but the boy's health condition proved to be a roadblock.

In a letter from Immigration Canada, an officer told Dr. Niehaus his son was, "a person whose health condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services in Canada". As a result, his application for permanent residency was denied.

The University of Victoria hired a lawyer to appeal the decision but the effort fell short.

In preparation of his work Visa expiring in November, Dr. Niehaus applied for jobs and accepted a position in Virginia.

Despite wanting to keep the story from media, Dr. Niehaus says his family has made up its mind and is leaving. It's why he is now content telling his story: "I'm much more comfortable with the idea that our story would be an example for people interested in how their own government works. People could use this as perhaps a way to have some positive influence going forward".

Dr. Niehaus says he's not angry.

In November he plans to take his family back to the United States where they will live permanently.

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