Navigating Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations in Canadian Immigration

Immigration to Canada is a dream for many around the globe, offering hope for a new beginning filled with opportunities. However, the path to obtaining a visa or permanent residence can be intricate, with strict criteria that applicants must meet. Recognizing that life’s circumstances can sometimes leave individuals outside these standard parameters, Canada offers a beacon of hope through the provision of Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) considerations. This post by Hummel Law delves into the essence of H&C applications, providing clarity and guidance for those considering this route.

What Are Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations?

H&C considerations provide a unique avenue for foreign nationals who find themselves ineligible under other immigration categories to apply for permanent residence in Canada. This discretionary measure can in some cases be an exception to the standard rules in some applications, designed to accommodate individuals facing unusual, undeserved, or disproportionate hardship. In other cases, individuals can make stand-alone H&C applications for permanent residence.

Eligibility for H & C Considerations

The eligibility for filing an H&C application is broad and includes, but is not limited to:

  • Those in Canada without valid immigration status; 
  • Individuals with significant ties and establishment in Canada;
  • Those excluded from the family class due to non-disclosure issues;
  • Individuals with criminal or medical inadmissibility concerns; or 
  • De facto family members, lacking formal legal recognition but practically part of a Canadian family. 

Stand-alone H&C Applications for Permanent Residency 

In certain circumstances, you may wish to consider making an application in Canada for permanent residency on H&C grounds. Given that such an application is discretionary in nature, the thought that needs to go into whether to proceed this way is less a science and more of an art, and bears speaking with experienced immigration counsel. 

If you do decide to proceed with an H&C application for permanent residency, officers will generally consider the three following factors: 

  • Establishment in Canada: Length of stay in Canada, employment history, community involvement, whether you have moved around, and family ties within Canada.
  • Potential Hardship: Evaluation of the difficulties the applicant might face if returned to their country of origin, including the inability to access medical treatments, exposure to crime, or fear of persecution.
  • Best Interests of Affected Children: Special consideration is given to the impact on children’s welfare, including their social, emotional, and physical well-being.

Other circumstances are taken into account, which is why any H&C application must be thorough and clear. Everything should be supported by credible documentation. 

Asking for H&C considerations for other PR applications 

If you have applied for permanent residency through other pathways in Canada, but there may be an obstacle in your application (insufficient ties, medical inadmissibility, any other potential issues), you may also request that humanitarian and compassionate considerations be applied to that application as well. This is pursuant to s. 25 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. If you ask for H&C grounds to be considered, then the officer reviewing your application will be able to look outside the strict parameters of the program (in some, but not all programs) and consider whether there is room for discretionary processing. 

Applying for H&C Considerations

H&C applications demand a comprehensive understanding of the Canadian immigration system and the ability to compellingly present one’s case. Applicants may be required to:

  • Complete Specific Application Forms: Including a general application for Canadian immigration and a supplementary information form for H&C considerations.
  • Provide Detailed Documentation: Supporting evidence is crucial to substantiate claims of hardship, establishment in Canada, and the best interests of children.
  • Demonstrate Economic Establishment: Applicants should show the potential for economic establishment in Canada or provide evidence of their current economic status.

Key Considerations

  • Risk Factors: It’s important to note that risk factors such as persecution or risk to life may be considered under H&C grounds, as well as more generalised or country-specific risks or hardships.
  • Legal Status in Canada: Importantly, submitting an H&C application (a stand alone application) does not guarantee the right to stay in Canada during processing. Applicants must maintain their legal status independently, and may still be subject to removal proceedings if an H&C application is being processed. 
  • Processing Time: H&C applications can take a considerable amount of time to process, often several years. Patience and diligent follow-up are essential.

How Hummel Law Can Assist

The complexities of H&C applications necessitate professional legal advice. Hummel Law, with its significant experience providing advice on H&C applications, stands ready to guide applicants through this challenging process. Our team can help by:

  • Assessing eligibility and advising on the strongest arguments for your H&C application,
  • Preparing and reviewing your application and supporting documents to ensure they meet the criteria,
  • Providing continuous support throughout the application process, including responding to requests from IRCC. 

Humanitarian and Compassionate considerations offer a vital lifeline to those in unique or challenging circumstances, seeking a new life in Canada. While the process can be daunting, the potential for a positive outcome makes it a worthy consideration for eligible individuals. With the expertise of Hummel Law, applicants can navigate the complexities of H&C applications, ensuring their cases are presented effectively and compassionately.

For individuals exploring the possibility of applying under H&C grounds, or those requiring professional guidance with their applications, Hummel Law is here to provide experienced, compassionate legal support.


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