Humanitarian Applications

Applications for permanent residence based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds—or H&C applications, as they’re commonly known—are the most widely misunderstood procedure in our immigration system.

This application represents an exception to the rule of having to apply for permanent residence from your home country. However, the requirements for this application are a lot more restrictive than people generally think. For that reason, people are often misled into thinking that if they stay in Canada long enough, they will be granted this extraordinary relief.

H&C applications contain a two-part test: first, you have to show that if you had to return to your home country in order to apply for permanent residence, you or your family members would experience unusual, undeserved or disproportionate hardship. This hardship has to be more than the usual hardship that comes with relocating after years of establishment; it has to be a hardship that was unanticipated by the Act.

The second part of the test involves having to show establishment in Canada, through steady employment and/or schooling, community involvement, volunteering, and law-abiding behaviour. Only if these two tests are met will CIC consider granting your request. Again, this is much harder than it seems, and heavily dependent on supporting documentation and country-condition research.