February 19, 2024 Dükkancılar Law 0 Comments

Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds applications are a provision under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that allow individuals who are not eligible for refugee status or who are inadmissible to Canada for other reasons to apply for permanent residence. This guide covers the essential aspects of applying for permanent residence in Canada on H&C grounds.

1. Understanding H&C Grounds

Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds applications in Canada offer a special provision under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) for individuals who are not eligible for refugee status and who may not qualify under other immigration categories. This pathway allows for the application for permanent residence in Canada based on compelling humanitarian or compassionate reasons.

The essence of an H&C application is to provide relief to individuals who can demonstrate that they would face unusual, undeserved, or disproportionate hardship if they were forced to leave Canada. This assessment is highly individualized, taking into account the specific circumstances of the applicant, including but not limited to their ties to Canada, the impact of their potential departure on Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and conditions in their home country that may affect their well-being.

Key aspects include:

  • Humanitarian Considerations: These involve assessing the hardships that the applicant might endure due to separation from family, the impact on children (especially those who are Canadian citizens or residents), or the lack of access to medical or social services in their home country.
  • Compassionate Considerations: These factors aim to evaluate the fairness and decency of allowing the applicant to stay in Canada, considering their establishment in the country, community ties, and the potential adverse impact of their departure on themselves and others.
  • Discretionary Nature: The H&C grounds application is discretionary, meaning that the decision to grant permanent residence under this category is at the discretion of the immigration officers based on the evidence provided.

H&C grounds acknowledge that life situations can be complex and that strict adherence to immigration law may not always result in outcomes that are fair or just. This provision allows for flexibility in Canada’s immigration system to accommodate individuals in unique or exceptional circumstances.

2. Eligibility Criteria

For an individual to be considered for permanent residence in Canada on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds, they must meet certain eligibility criteria:

  • Not Eligible for Refugee Status: The applicant must not be eligible to apply for refugee status. This includes individuals who have not made a refugee claim and those whose refugee claims have been denied, provided they are not barred from making an H&C application due to other factors such as serious criminality.
  • Demonstration of Hardship: The applicant must demonstrate that they would face unusual, undeserved, or disproportionate hardship if required to leave Canada. This involves more than just the hardship of immigration itself but must indicate significant adversity in their situation.

It’s important to note that H&C applications are not intended for those seeking to avoid regular immigration processes or as a means to bypass visa requirements. Additionally, certain conditions may make individuals ineligible for H&C consideration, such as having a failed refugee claim that was not based on the country’s best interests of a child or involvement in serious criminal activities.

This eligibility criterion ensures that H&C grounds are reserved for those genuinely in need of this provision due to their unique circumstances, emphasizing the importance of providing thorough and compelling evidence to support one’s application.

3. Factors Considered

In evaluating Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds applications, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) considers a wide range of factors to determine whether granting permanent residence is justified under the applicant’s unique circumstances. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Establishment in Canada: The degree to which the applicant has established themselves in Canada, including employment history, community involvement, and social ties.
  • Best Interests of Children: A primary consideration is given to the best interests of any children affected by the decision, particularly children who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. This includes the impact on their education, health, and overall well-being.
  • Health Considerations: The availability of medical treatment for any conditions the applicant or their dependent family members may have, and the implications of the lack of such treatment in their home country.
  • Family Violence Considerations: If the applicant has been a victim of family violence, this will be taken into account, especially if returning to their home country could put them at risk of further violence.
  • Consequences of the Separation of Family Members: The potential impact on family members if the applicant were forced to leave Canada, considering both those who would remain in Canada and those in the applicant’s home country.
  • Factors in the Country of Origin: Conditions in the applicant’s country of origin, including discrimination or other hardships they may face, though these conditions do not need to rise to the level of persecution that is considered under refugee claims.

IRCC examines each application on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the totality of the circumstances presented by the applicant. It’s essential for applicants to provide comprehensive and detailed evidence supporting their claims, as the decision is heavily reliant on the documentation and arguments made in the application.

4. Application Process

The application process for Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds in Canada involves several critical steps, designed to assess the applicant’s individual circumstances thoroughly. Here’s an overview of the process:

  1. Gathering Documentation: The first step involves collecting all necessary documentation that supports your H&C application. This includes personal identification documents, evidence of your establishment in Canada (such as employment records, school records, and proof of community involvement), and any documents relevant to your H&C claim (such as medical reports or evidence of hardships).
  2. Completing the Application: The next step is to complete the application package for H&C grounds. This package includes several forms, the most crucial being the Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM 0008) and the Schedule 1: Background/Declaration (IMM 5669). It’s essential to answer all questions accurately and provide detailed explanations where required, particularly in sections that ask about the hardships you would face if required to leave Canada.
  3. Application Fee: An application fee is required to process your H&C application. As of February 2024 update, the fee is CAD 1085 for adults and CAD 155 for children under 22 years of age who are not accompanied by a spouse or common-law partner.

5. After Submission

After submitting a Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds application in Canada, the process is far from over. Applicants should be prepared for the following steps and considerations:

  • Acknowledgment of Receipt: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will send an acknowledgment of receipt once they have received your application. This does not mean your application has been approved; it simply indicates that your application is in the queue for processing.
  • Processing Time: H&C applications are known for their lengthy processing times, which can vary significantly. The time frame can extend from several months to a few years, depending on the complexity of the case and the current backlog of applications IRCC is handling. It’s essential to be patient during this period and to prepare for a potentially long wait.
  • Updates to Your Application: It’s crucial to keep IRCC informed of any changes in your circumstances while your application is being processed. This includes changes in address, family composition (such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child), or any significant changes in the hardships you are facing. Updating your application can be done through the IRCC web portal or by contacting the IRCC directly.
  • Requests for Additional Information: IRCC may contact you to request additional information or documents to support your application. This could include more detailed explanations of your circumstances, additional evidence of establishment in Canada, or updated medical records. It’s important to respond to these requests promptly to avoid delays in the processing of your application.
  • Interviews: In some cases, IRCC may request an interview with the applicant to discuss their application in more detail. This is an opportunity to explain your situation directly to an immigration officer and to provide any additional information that may support your case.
  • Decision: Eventually, you will receive a decision on your application. If approved, you will be granted permanent resident status in Canada. If refused, you will receive a detailed explanation of the reasons for the decision, and information on any rights to appeal or judicial review, depending on the specifics of your case.

6. Potential Outcomes

The outcome of a Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds application in Canada can significantly impact an applicant’s life. Understanding the potential outcomes is crucial for setting realistic expectations and planning for the future. Here are the main possibilities:

  • Approval: If your application is approved, you will be granted permanent resident status in Canada. This status allows you to live, work, and study in Canada indefinitely, subject to compliance with Canadian laws and the conditions of your permanent residence. You will also be on the path to applying for Canadian citizenship, should you choose to do so after meeting the residency and other requirements. The approval letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will provide detailed instructions on the next steps, including how and where to complete the landing process.
  • Refusal: In the event your application is refused, IRCC will send you a detailed explanation of the reasons for the decision. The refusal letter will outline the specific factors considered and the rationale behind the decision, providing insight into areas where the application may have fallen short. Depending on the reasons for refusal and the specifics of your case, there may be options to appeal the decision or to seek a judicial review at the Federal Court of Canada. However, not all decisions are eligible for appeal, and there are strict deadlines for initiating these processes.
  • Request for More Information or an Interview: Although not a final outcome, in some cases, IRCC may require additional information or wish to conduct an interview before making a decision. This step indicates that your application is under thorough review and that IRCC is considering all aspects of your claim. Providing comprehensive and timely responses to these requests is crucial for the successful continuation of your application process.

8. Important Considerations

Applying for permanent residence in Canada on Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds involves several critical considerations. Being aware of these factors can help applicants navigate the process more effectively and increase their chances of a successful outcome. Here are some important considerations:

  • No Guarantee of Approval: It’s essential to understand that an H&C application does not guarantee success. The decision is highly discretionary, based on the unique circumstances of each case and the evidence provided. Applicants should prepare their application thoroughly, presenting a compelling case for why they should be granted permanent residence.
  • Exclusions: Certain conditions may exclude individuals from being considered under H&C grounds. For example, individuals with a pending refugee claim are not eligible to apply for H&C consideration. Similarly, those who have been found inadmissible to Canada on grounds of security, human or international rights violations, serious criminality, or organized criminality may also be excluded.
  • Timeliness and Updates: Given the potentially lengthy processing times for H&C applications, circumstances can change. It’s crucial to inform Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) of any significant changes in your situation, such as changes in marital status, the birth of children, or new factors affecting your hardship.
  • Evidence and Documentation: The success of an H&C application often hinges on the quality and comprehensiveness of the evidence provided. This includes documentation of your establishment in Canada, ties to the community, impact on children, and any hardships you and your family would face if required to leave Canada.
  • Best Interests of Children: If children are involved, their best interests will be a primary consideration in the decision-making process. This includes children who are directly affected by the application, emphasizing the importance of detailing how the children’s well-being is tied to the applicant’s stay in Canada.
  • Limited Appeal Rights: If an H&C application is refused, the rights to appeal are limited compared to other immigration applications. In some cases, judicial review by the Federal Court may be possible, but this is generally focused on the legality of the decision-making process rather than the merits of the case itself.
  • Impact on Future Applications: The outcome of an H&C application could impact future immigration applications. Therefore, it’s important to approach the process seriously and provide a complete and honest account of your circumstances.

In wrapping up our discussion on the Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Application, it’s essential to highlight the crucial role of expert legal guidance in navigating this complex process. Dukkancilar Law, renowned for its expertise in immigration law, particularly shines when handling cases that require a deep understanding of humanitarian and compassionate grounds. This specialized area of law is intricate, demanding a lawyer who not only has a profound knowledge of the immigration system but also possesses a sensitivity to the unique circumstances of each applicant.

Embarking on a Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Application is a journey that requires meticulous preparation, detailed documentation, and a compelling narrative of your situation. The application form itself is just the beginning. It serves as a canvas where your story unfolds, illustrating why you deserve consideration under these special grounds. However, without the expert hand of a seasoned immigration lawyer, navigating the complexities of this process can be daunting.

Dukkancilar Law stands out for its compassionate approach to each case, ensuring that your application is not just a collection of documents but a persuasive, well-crafted argument that underscores your need for consideration. Whether it’s gathering the necessary evidence, filling out the application form with precision, or preparing a robust submission letter, a humanitarian and compassionate grounds lawyer from Dukkancilar Law is your ally, guiding you through each step with expertise and empathy.

Moreover, the importance of a thorough checklist cannot be overstated. It ensures that every necessary document is accounted for and that your application meets the stringent requirements set by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This checklist is a vital tool in your application process, serving as a roadmap that guides the preparation of your case, ensuring that no detail is overlooked.

In conclusion, the path to submitting a successful Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Application in Canada is fraught with challenges and complexities. However, with the support of a dedicated immigration lawyer from Dukkancilar Law, your journey can be navigated with confidence and care. Their expertise in humanitarian and compassionate grounds applications ensures that your case is presented in the most compelling way possible, maximizing your chances of success. Remember, this application is not just about filling out a form; it’s about telling your story in a way that moves the hearts and minds of those who hold the keys to your future in Canada. With the right legal partner, your journey towards a new beginning can be filled with hope and promise.