The immigration process has strict guidelines to ensure that only those who meet the specific criteria are able to apply for a permanent resident visa. So, what are your options when you are not an eligible candidate? Applying to become a permanent resident based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations (HnC considerations) might be an option; however, it is an exceptional measure reserved for compelling cases.
Who is Eligible to Apply Based on Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations?
No two cases are alike, and this application is highly subjective. Anyone who is unable to apply to become a permanent resident through the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations can apply based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations.
These are some of the important rules outlined on the Government of Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship website for those who wish to apply based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations:
- this is only for those applying for a permanent resident visa in Canada or abroad;
- you can only have one application for permanent residence under humanitarian and compassionate considerations at a time;
- risk factors such as persecution, risk to life and cruel and unusual treatment might be considered but will not be assessed;
- If you have a pending refugee claim, you cannot apply for permanent residence under HnC considerations (nonetheless, you may opt to withdraw your refugee claim before your IRB hearing in order to submit an application for permanent residence under HnC considerations);1
- if you have a negative decision from the IRB within the last year you cannot apply for HnC considerations. However, the bar does not apply if
- you have dependent children under the age of 18 who would be greatly affected if you were removed from Canada; or,
- you or a dependent has a life-threatening medical condition which cannot be treated in your home country.
1 It is strongly advisable that you consult with an immigration lawyer before withdrawing your refugee claim.
All factors provided will be taken into consideration when determining whether or not you should be granted a permanent resident visa. Some of these factors include:
- length of time you have been in Canada;
- possible family members that now live in Canada;
- level of cooperation with immigration officials while you have been in Canada;
- history of stable employment;
- involvement within the community; and,
- consequences if you are removed from Canada and return to your home country.
These factors can be supported with evidence, including:
- letters from family members, community members and friends depicting your commitment to community involvement and how important it is for you to stay in Canada (outline any and all volunteer positions you have taken with different organizations, as it is important to show that you have bettered the community since you have become a part of it);
- proof of employment and/or income (collect paystubs and a letter from your employer describing your work ethic and contributions to the workplace);
- if you have children, collect information about their education (report cards, letters from teachers and record of participation in extracurricular activities, including sports.2
2 Your children can even write letters saying how much they want to stay in Canada and outline all of the experiences they have had that would not be possible in their home country.
You must leave Canada by the date stated on your removal order; however, if your application is accepted, then you will be permitted to return. The application will be processed even after you have left Canada. You will receive a letter outlining the decision made.
If you or a family member are unable to apply for a permanent resident visa through the normal channels, that does not mean that you are out of options. It is best to seek advice from an immigration lawyer, as applying based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations requires an ‘out-of-the-box’ approach to compile a strong case which may lead to the best results.