The Maeng family in Moncton are thanking their community and lawyers for support after three years in limbo.

In 2011, they were served deportation papers by the federal government. And although it was reversed, their future in Canada was unclear.

“We’ve been just struggling just to have that thought: What if it doesn’t happen?” says eldest son Jung-Joo (John) Maeng.

The Maeng family moved to Moncton 11 years ago from South Korea and opened a corner store.

They were ordered to leave in 2011 because the federal government felt their youngest son, who is autistic and epileptic, would be too much of a drain on the province’s health care system.

The family says they were at a loss.

“And just to leave everything behind, that is something that is not easy to do,” continues Maeng. “We were shocked and hoping that we could do something to change that.”

But, thanks to many Moncton residents, awareness was raised with protests and petitions. Politicians rallied behind them, as well as a team of lawyers.

Nicole Druckman led the Maeng’s legal team.

“The way the community gathered and worked together to make this tragedy turn into something positive was really very touching,” she says.

On Monday, the family received documents declaring their permanent residency.

“It’s a big relief on our end, and along with our lawyer,” says Maeng. “She has been working really hard behind the scenes.”

For those Moncton residents like Alisha Maskery who showed their support, they’re just proud that the documentation has now been made official.

“I think it’s fantastic that the community really pulled together and made this happen for them to stay in New Brunswick,” she says.

With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell.