Foreign nationals in Canada may apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds (H&C application) if they are not eligible to apply for permanent residence in any other class or if they are inadmissible and need an exemption to immigration requirements.  Individuals apply for H&C consideration because they face hardship – serious problems or suffering – if they are forced to leave Canada and return to their home country.  An immigration officer will decide whether or not an exemption will be granted based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations.

H&C applications are decided on a case-by-case basis and include evidence of:

  • Establishment in Canada:
    • Ties to Canada including connections with family and friends
    • Employment and financial stability
    • Education and training, including English classes
    • Community involvement including volunteer work
    • An inability to leave Canada that has led to establishment
  • Any hardship the Applicant would face if they were required to leave Canada:
    • Consequences to Canadian citizen or permanent resident relatives if the Applicant is removed
    • Loss of community support including religious, social, or other community support
    • Inability to speak the language or work in the home country
    • Lack of remaining ties to home country
    • Health considerations including lack of access to healthcare (mental and physical)
    • Family violence
  • Adverse conditions in the Applicant’s home country which would personally and negatively affect the Applicant
  • The best interests of any child affected by the decision given the child’s age, education, special needs and dependency on the Applicant

Application processing times can be lengthy and a pending H&C application will not stay an Applicant’s removal from Canada.  If an Applicant is removed from Canada prior to a decision on the H&C application, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will continue to process the application and notify the Applicant of its decision in writing.

Individuals who have an outstanding refugee claim or became a designated foreign national within the past 5 years cannot make an H&C application.

Individuals who have made refugee claims that were rejected, withdrawn or abandoned within the past 12 months may not be able to make an H&C application.  There are exceptions to this “12 month bar” if there is evidence that children will be adversely affected by the Applicant’s removal from Canada or if the failed refugee claimant’s life would be at risk because their home country is unable to provide adequate health or medical care.