humanitarian and compassionate grounds

Permanent Residence Applications on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds

Permanent Residence Applications on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds

Before you apply to permanent residence on the base of humanitarian and compassionate grounds ask yourself the following questions:

Have you been living & working in Canada without a valid status?

Have you overstayed your visa or work permit in Canada?

Are you able to contribute to the Canadian economy, but don’t seem to fit into any available immigration programs?

Are you established in Canada with a family, job, or a group of friends?

Do you have a child(ren) in your life who would benefit from you remaining in Canada long-term?

If so, an application for permanent residence from within Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds may be the right application for you.

What is an Application on Humanitarian and Compationate Grounds?

Humanitarian and compassionate applications (commonly referred to as “H&Cs”) are sometimes seen as a last resort for people who are looking to remain in Canada long-term, with valid status.

It is an application for permanent residence filed within Canada and is ideal for those who, for example:

  1. Do not have valid status here, or
  2. Who are in Canada on a certain immigration program, who may not have prospects for permanent residence otherwise.

If successful, the applicant will be granted permanent residence in Canada, with all the benefits that come with it.

A successful Humanitarian and Compassionate application should show that:

  • The applicant is financially well established in Canada,, and involved with a social circle, community group, religious institution, volunteer work, etc.
  • That they have been able to support themselves in Canada, and will be able to continue to do so in the future;
  • That they’ve tried to upgrade their skills while in Canada;
  • Sometimes, that they’d face hardship in their country of origin if they were to return; and
  • If applicable, that it would be in the best interests of any children associated with the applicant to have the applicant remain in Canada.

Applications on Humanitarian applications are discretionary and granted on a case by case basis. This means that there is not a setlist of criteria that an applicant has to meet to have it granted. It is up to the visa officer reviewing the application to determine whether the applicant meets the guidelines set out for granting such status. However, there is a broad range of individuals who qualify for this application.

At Hummingbird Lawyers LLP, we have many years of experience assisting clients with H&C applications for permanent residence. Every application is different, because everyone has their own unique story that accompanies their file. Whether you are a married couple with children who have grown up in Canada, or a single construction worker, or someone with incredibly compassionate grounds for being able to remain here, there is a broad opportunity for a successful application. We understand that there is often an element of vulnerability with these cases, and we approach each case with extreme care and understanding. With our experience, we are confident that we can help you ensure that you put your best case forward, and consider all the concerns that an officer reviewing your file would have.

If you have any questions about this type of immigration application, we would be honoured to help you formalize the process of making Canada your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Application take to process?

Though the opportunity afforded through this type of program is incredible, one of the downsides is the processing time. At the end of 2020, the posted processing time for H&C applications is approximately 22-36 months. Unfortunately, Covid 19 has resulted in longer and inaccurate processing times, and the more complicated the application, the longer you should expect to wait..

Is the application completed in one or multiple steps?

The H&C Application is generally a 2step process

Step 1 is to submit the application, asking for an exemption from the requirement to apply for permanent residence from overseas. This part of the application i where the heavy lifting is usually done, and is the stage in which you must convince an immigration officer that your application should be granted. This is a challenging step.

If your application is approved at the first stage (, you will receive a notification telling you that immigration will now process your permanent residence application. At this second stage, immigration will be asking for some additional documentation to show that you are

  1. healthy, and
  2. not a risk to Canadian society
  3. you can support yourself.

Once the second stage processing is complete, you’ll be invited to report to IRCC for a landing interview, where you will be granted your permanent residence.

Will applying for an H&C application prevent my removal from Canada?

Unfortunately, no, it will not. If you are in Canada without status, it definitely makes sense to apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. However, submitting this application will not prevent the CBSA from taking steps to remove you, if such steps are taken prior to your application being approved.

There are other remedies that may be available to prevent your removal, but an H&C application cannot do that.

 If I have family members overseas and want to make an H&C application, can I bring them to Canada later?

Generally, yes. As long as the forms are filled out correctly, if you have immediate family overseas such as children, then you may be able to sponsor them later on and bring them to Canada as dependents. Again, this can only be done if you have completed the forms properly, and usually requires the advice and input of a qualified immigration lawyer.

Contact An Immigration Lawyer Today

If you feel that you have good reason to challenge a decision, please call us and we would be happy to help you.

Contact Hummingbird’s Toronto immigration lawyers for more information about our immigration law services.

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Adam Hummel

Adam Hummel is an Associate Lawyer in the Immigration practice, and Wills & Estates practice groups at Hummingbird Lawyers LLP.

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