Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds

Humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) consideration provides the flexibility to grant permanent residence status or a permanent resident visa to certain foreign nationals who would otherwise not qualify in any class, in cases in which there are compelling H&C grounds.  Humanitarian and compassionate grounds apply to people with exceptional cases.

The applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Several factors are considered in the application process, including:

  • How settled the person is in Canada?
  • General family ties to Canada
  • The best interests of any children involved, and
  • What could happen to the applicant if request is not granted?

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Other rules that apply to humanitarian and compassionate grounds

  • The applicant may only ask for humanitarian and compassionate grounds if he/she is applying for permanent resident status in Canada, or for a permanent resident visa abroad.
  • Applicant cannot have more than one humanitarian and compassionate grounds application at the same time.
  • Different risk factors such as persecution, risk to life, cruel and unusual treatment or punishment are not assessed under H&C grounds.
  • Applicant cannot apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds if he/she has a pending refugee claim. If applicant want to apply under H&C grounds, he/she must withdraw his/her refugee claim before Element Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) hearing.
  • Applicant cannot apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds if they had a negative decision from the IRB within the last 12 months. This is called the “one-year bar.” (If the IRB decides refugee claim is abandoned or withdrawn, that counts as a negative decision.) The bar does not apply if:
    • Applicant have children under 18 years, and who would be adversely affected if the applicant were removed from Canada, or
    • Applicant have proof that they or their dependents suffers from a life-threatening medical condition that cannot be treated in their home country.

Designated foreign nationals

A group of people who enter or try to enter Canada in a way that is against the law can be considered an “irregular arrival.” This means certain rules and restrictions apply to them. If an applicant came to Canada as part of an irregular arrival, they are a “designated foreign national.”

The applicant cannot apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds until five years have passed since:

  • The day they became a designated foreign national and/or
  • The IRB made a final negative decision on their refugee claim and/or
  • The applicant got a negative decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.

If the applicant applied for humanitarian and compassionate grounds and then became a designated foreign national, his/her humanitarian and compassionate grounds application will be suspended for five years from the date:

Removal orders

If applicant has an order to leave Canada (this is called a removal order), he/she may be able to apply to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, unless any of the above restrictions apply to them. If the applicant applies, this will not prevent or delay the removal from Canada. The applicant must leave on or before the date stated on removal order. The government will still process the application even the applicant has to leave Canada. There is no right to appeal a refused application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. In some cases, the applicant can ask the Federal Court of Canada to review the decision.

Contact us for assessment and more information