Humanitarian and Compassionate Applications also known as H&C are Canadian permanent residence applications that are filed within Canada. They are for people who do not have legal status in Canada but who have still made Canada their home. If you are someone, or you know someone, who is living in Canada without the proper paperwork, there still are options! You may be able to qualify for an H & C and obtain Canadian permanent residence status.
Related Article: Canadian Permanent Residency
Who Qualifies for Humanitarian and Compassionate?
Applicants can use the H&C application to receive Canadian PR on humanitarian and compassionate grounds if you:
- are a foreign national currently living in Canada
- need an exemption from one or more requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) or Regulations in order to apply for Canadian PR
- believe humanitarian and compassionate considerations justify granting the exemption(s) you need
- are not eligible to apply for permanent residence from within Canada in any of these classes:
- Spouse or Common-Law Partner
- Live-in Caregiver
- Caregivers: caring for children or people with high medical needs
- Protected Person and Convention Refugees
- Temporary Resident Permit Holder
You are NOT able to apply for Canada PR under H&C if you:
- are a Canadian citizen
- a permanent resident
- have submitted an H&C application for which a decision has not been made
- have an outstanding refugee claim
- became a designated foreign national within the last 5 years
NOTE: This is not the program for those looking to seek protection. If you are seeking protection to avoid persecution, danger, or unethical punishment, you will want to learn more about becoming a refugee in Canada
How an H&C Candidate is Assessed
A good candidate for an H&C application would be someone who has resided in Canada for a number of years and who has some of the factors listed above. Oftentimes, applicants do not qualify for other Canadian permanent residence categories such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program where applicants are assessed on their English skills or education or work experience. A typical applicant may be a laborer with little education but has managed to support him or herself in Canada. A few situations that have allowed individuals to successfully apply for H&C status include:
- Inability to travel back to Canada due to travel restrictions (such as due to covid-19)
- Applicant’s illness or incapacitation while traveling outside Canada
- Illness, incapacitation, or death of a family member who lives outside Canada
- Court, tribunal, or other legal proceedings outside Canada pertaining to the applicant
- Financial proceedings outside Canada pertaining to the applicant
- Best interest of a child
Best Interest of the Child
Officers reviewing an application to renew PR cards on humanitarian and compassionate grounds have to take into account the best interests of any child who will be directly affected by the outcome of the application. This consideration includes children living both inside and outside Canada, regardless of their citizenship or another status. Aspects of how the application relates to the child or children in question include:
- the child’s relationship to the applicant
- the child’s age
- the child’s degree of dependence on the applicant
- medical issues or special needs the child may have
- impact on the child’s application
PR Renewal with H&C
It is possible to renew your PR Card on H&C grounds when your status is expired. When seeking to renew your PR Card you will be assessed to be sure you still fall under and qualify for this category!
Hardship in Home Country
A major component of H & C cases is the potential suffering of undue hardship if you are required to return to your home country. It is important to explore an applicant’s background in terms of the social, economic or personal hardship they or their family would be subject to in their home country. Note that the applicant for Humanitarian and Compassionate cases does not have to be subject to persecution. H & C cases are not Refugee cases. However, without showing hardship, it may be difficult to succeed in your application for Canadian permanent residence under the Humanitarian and Compassionate category.
# of Immigrants Receiving PR Through Humanitarian & Compassionate Program
Top 4 Most Common FAQs about H & C Applications
What Is The Procedure for H & C Applications?
The completion of application forms, and supporting documentation showing the factors above are necessary for a good H & C application. Once the application package is complete and the government processing fee is collected, the application can be submitted. The application package should have a very detailed submission letter outlining all the H & C factors of the applicant and should explain why the immigration officer assessing the case should approve the application. Note that H & C cases are discretionary, that is, the immigration officer assessing the case can refuse or approve the case based on their own assessment. Therefore it is extremely important to prepare a very strong submission letter and collect persuasive supporting documentation in support of the Humanitarian and Compassionate Application.
How Long Does The Application Take To Process?
Applications can take around 18-24 months to process, but sometimes longer depending on the case. During the application process, the applicant remains in Canada to await a decision. It is not recommended that the applicant travel outside of Canada during the H & C process. An interview may be required, as well as a request for additional documentation. Interviews will be conducted at their local CIC office.
What Happens If My H & C Application Is Approved?
If your Humanitarian and Compassionate application is approved, you will be asked to undergo immigration medical exams and obtain police clearances. Once the medicals and police clearances are passed, you will be called in to pick up your Canadian Permanent Residence Card (PR Card).
What Happens If My H & C Application is Refused?
If your Humanitarian and Compassionate application is refused, then it is essential to act fast! You have only 15 days to appeal the refusal to the Federal Court of Canada. Appealing to the Federal Court involves showing the judge that the immigration officer who refused your case made some errors in law and/or fact. This is not an easy job. However, success is indeed possible. Immigration officers do make mistakes!
Why Seeking Professional Immigration Help is Essential
Being approved for a Humanitarian and Compassionate application is far from easy. Immigration officers do not readily approve them unless the applicant demonstrates hardship in their home country and that they have established themselves in Canada. Making a strong and compelling case is essential for a successful outcome.
Our law firm has been handling Humanitarian and Compassionate applications for over 15 years. We take a very aggressive approach to these cases, making sure your application stands out! Let our experienced immigration lawyers handle your H & C case so you do not have to live “underground” in fear any longer.
Why Hire Us to Help with Your H & C Application?
If you are out of status or illegal in Canada, there are options! The procedures for applying for H & C cases are not exactly straightforward, and applicants that choose to apply without seeking any help from an immigration lawyer are often met with avoidable challenges. When it comes to H & Cs, risking deportation is the reality. This is why relying on a legal team who specializes in H & C cases will provide you with your best shot at staying in Canada and become a legal resident. We have helped thousands of individuals to successfully immigrate to Canada through the Humanitarian and Compassionate application. Our experienced immigration lawyers will be able to assess your case and recommend a course of action to best serve your needs.