June 6, 2024

What Factors are Considered for a Humanitarian and Compassionate Application

In Canada, a Humanitarian and Compassionate application is a unique avenue for individuals who do not meet the standard requirements for immigration but who are seeking permanent residence. It is considered by the IRCC as an “exceptional measure,” and not just another regular immigration route. To be granted residency under H&C, you need to present a strong case under compelling humanitarian and compassionate grounds. 

The Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) Grounds Program in Canada is designed for individuals who have established a life in Canada but lack legal immigration status. It offers a pathway to permanent residence for those who face significant hardships if forced to leave the country. This program is intended for those who cannot qualify for permanent residence through other means.

To qualify, you must demonstrate that you would suffer if you were forced to leave Canada; your hardships must be compelling enough to justify your need to stay.

Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis by immigration officers who consider several factors to determine whether an applicant’s circumstances justify an exemption from normal immigration rules. 

Best Interests of the Child

The best interests of any children directly affected by the H&C application decision will always be a prime consideration. Immigration officers will look at several aspects of their well-being and development, including emotional, social, and educational impacts on children if the application is denied. 

The emotional bonds between you and any child, and the potential psychological impact of separation, will be considered. They will also consider how a child’s education might be disrupted if forced to leave Canada, assessing the quality of education available in the country of origin. Social integration is another factor, considering how involved a child is in the community, including friendships, extracurricular activities, and overall integration into Canadian society. Finally, the health and well-being of a child is assessed. Access to healthcare and other support systems in Canada as opposed to your home country is a key factor.

Establishment in Canada

Another critical factor is how established you are in Canada, and how much you have made it your home. How long you have been in the country, why you chose to live here, and your ability to speak English or French can all indicate how established you are.

Evidence of your stable and long-term employment, contributions to the economy, assets and savings in Canada, and professional accomplishments will increase your chances of a favourable outcome, showing your ongoing immersion in Canadian life. Likewise, your participation in community activities, volunteering, and similar activities will help. Any education pursued in Canada, including degrees, diplomas, and other qualifications also demonstrates a greater establishment within the country.

Contribution to Canada

While not an official criterion, your contribution to Canadian society can positively influence your H&C application. This includes your economic contributions, such as taxes paid, businesses started, and other economic activities. Cultural contributions and noteworthy accomplishments in science, technology, arts, sports, or other fields may add to your case, too.

group of young volunteers join hands in park

Family Ties and Relationships

The presence of close family members, friendships, and support networks in Canada, which can indicate deeper roots will be considered.

Dependent family members in Canada, such as children or elderly parents who rely on your support, or a spouse who would be impacted emotionally or financially if you were to leave, are taken into account. Your ability to financially contribute is not necessarily essential. If you have strong ties in Canada and can show that a spouse, partner, or family member will support you, it can positively impact your case. 

Hardship and Adverse Conditions

The potential hardship you may face if required to leave is another key consideration. It’s important to note that these can’t include situations that would be considered under a refugee application. 

Hardship encompasses a range of issues including security concerns, such as threats of violence, political instability, or persecution in your home country, as well as economic conditions that could result in poverty, unemployment, or lack of access to basic necessities. It also includes situations where you could suffer inadequate medical care and treatment for any existing health conditions you may have. Facing societal discrimination or stigma based on factors such as gender, sexual orientation, or minority status is also considered a hardship.

Immigration History and Compliance

Your immigration history and compliance with previous immigration laws and procedures are also reviewed, such as prior immigration applications, including any rejections or violations, and your adherence to Canadian laws. Criminal activity procedures may have a negative impact on your decision.

Evidence and Documentation

The success of an H&C application heavily depends on the evidence provided. Comprehensive documentation to clearly support your claims is critical. This includes:

  • Personal statements that detail your circumstances, hardship, and integration into Canada
  • Letters of support from family members, employers, community leaders, and others
  • Other official documents, like medical records, employment letters, educational certificates, and more

hands with flag of canada

Discretion and Humanitarian Considerations

Immigration officers must balance the legal framework with humanitarian considerations, requiring a compassionate understanding of your unique situation.

There is some subjectivity, as the office will assess the genuineness of your claims and the overall impression of your character and intentions.

The caring Oro Immigration team includes specialized immigration consultants, who are certified and experienced in helping those wishing to apply under H&C grounds. The H&C grounds program is a long process, and the documentation requirements for evidence can be overwhelming, but Oro will help you at every step to develop a stronger application.


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