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Eritrea: Refugee family, daughter to be reunited after 4-year separation

Genet Abraham was tearful when she received news Friday that the federal government would be granting her daughter a temporary resident visa to come to Canada, after the family was torn apart four years ago. (CBC)

An Eritrean family that's been torn apart since a daughter went missing four years ago will finally be reunited in St. John's, as the federal government has granted the daughter a temporary resident visa.

Genet Abraham, a refugee from Eritrea, managed to get to Canada with her two younger daughters.

But her oldest daughter, Selam, now 20, went missing four years ago when she was abducted from a Libyan refugee camp.

On Friday, Liberal MP Gerry Byrne told the family over the phone that they'll finally be back together.

"Minister Chris Alexander, the minister for citizenship and immigration in Canada, has agreed in principle to issue a temporary resident visa to you, Selam," he said.

"And I soon as the final documentation is complete, you should be planning to purchase a one-way plane ticket to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada."

Cutting the red tape

Abraham had no idea what happened to her oldest daughter when she went missing four years ago, while Selam had no knowledge that her father had also gone missing.

She also didn't have any way of knowing that two years ago, her mother and two younger sisters had made it to Canada as refugees.

Selam was last seen by her mother when she was a teenager, after going to sell bread at a local market — but Selam never came back.

It was only last year that friends and supporters helped Abraham track her oldest daughter to Holland.

Byrne said the speed with which Selam's visa was rushed through is unprecedented.

He added that the final paperwork should only take about two weeks to complete.