"The inhabitants of Newfoundland are a gift from God," says the trainer of Jamaican origin, after demonstrations of support



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Machel Rayner is a fitness guy. It thrives by helping people stay healthy and well.

But after he told CBC News on Thursday about his problems with immigration, he gained national attention and job offers came from different sectors.

"The RNC [Royal Newfoundland Constabulary] called me and offered me the recruiting process because they want someone like me, "Rayner said Friday.

Similar offers were made by small businesses in St. John's. Even the sheriff's office at Gander held out his hand, Rayner said.

The School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University has created a fundraising campaign to help the former student with financial challenges.

"It has been wonderful, wonderful feedback and support from all walks of life … I know a lot of people where I worked, they support me, but to that magnitude it was the best feeling of all."

An expensive mistake

Originally from Trenchtown, Jamaica, Rayner, 31, has lived in St. John's for eight years and two months.

He was in the final stages of completing his permanent residency this fall when he said he accidentally undermined his chances of remaining in Canada.

Rayner was part of an appointment program that the Newfoundland and Labrador government offers to increase immigration and fill the labor shortage.

If you're a Newfoundlander, they're after you all the way.– Machel Rayner

After losing part of his salary in his personal training job in St. John's, Rayner said he decided to temporarily seek employment in Halifax.

When leaving the province to work – albeit temporarily – Rayner said that he was automatically removed from the Provincial Program of Newfoundland and Labrador.

He left him with some options, including an appeals hearing that could result in him being banned from the country for up to five years.

Rayner, seen here at work as a personal trainer, says his interests are in the area of ​​preventive health. (CBC)

Without a job, Rayner felt he had no choice but to return to Jamaica and reapply through a federal program. It would be a move, he said, that would hurt him and his family financially.

A pause

After Rayner told his story, he said that a provincial government official had called him to say that the restrictions were lifted on his work permit. He can now get a job wherever he wants in the province.

His lawyer, Meghan Felt, said that it is a movement that does not happen very often and is a great gift to Rayner.

On Friday afternoon, provincial and federal governments told Rayner they were discussing their case behind the scenes and suspended an appeals hearing in January.

Rayner and his lawyer, Meghan Felt, before a CBC interview on Friday. (Paula Gale / CBC)

"The work permit is good now because I can continue to support my family and get back on track," he said.

If you are a Newfoundlander, they are behind you all the way. I am happy and happy to be working and living here. "

The rules exist for a reason

Felt, who is a partner at McInnes Cooper and an immigration law expert, said the rule that Rayner broke working in Halifax exists for a reason.

She said the idea of ​​the provincial appointment program is to get the person inside the province, but that does not always happen.

Machel is exactly the kind of person Canada wants.– Meghan Felt

"Long time, once they get their permanent residence, they leave for other cities and would not have contributed to our province here," Felt said.

Felt will represent Rayner if the appeals hearing goes ahead in January.

"Machel is exactly the kind of person Canada wants. He's young, well trained, and speaks English very well."

The other option for Rayner is to go through a federal express entry program that can see him back in about six months.

An Atlantic immigration pilot program is another option, but it has a processing time between nine and 10 months, Felt said.

Now to continue

It was one-thirty in the morning on Friday before Machel Rayner went to bed after a full day of phone calls and messages of support.

There was one last person he needed to tell: his mother, Linda, who is at home in Jamaica, and has prayed he will not have to come back.

"With tears in her voice, she said," Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus. You answered my prayers, "Rayner said.

"She was crumbling and said: God has answered your prayer and she will continue to pray to see all this."

Rayner had promised to take his mother to Newfoundland and Labrador. It's a promise he still wants to keep. (Subject)

Despite the support and well wishes, Rayner said, the stress of possibly having to leave Canada is still on your mind.

"Now with this support, I'm more confident," he said. "But you can still go the other way."

Your goal, however, remains the same. After years calling himself Newfoundlander and Canadian, he wants to make it official with citizenship.

"It would be a great time for my mother … if she was still around. I have to work fast to bring her here."

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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