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Humanitarian & Compassionate

Humanitarian & Compassionate Considerations

Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) is a special category for those applicants, whose situation is unique and warrants approval for immigration on humanitarian and compassionate considerations. By submitting an H&C application, you ask the government of Canada to allow you to stay in Canada because of compassionate reasons.


The general rule under immigration law is that people apply for permanent residence from outside of Canada. With an H&C application, you are asking the government to make an exception to this rule and allow you to apply from within Canada.


The H&C applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, where the officer can make a discretionary decision, allowing an exemption from the requirements to fit the eligibility criteria under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. Generally, this program is for those individuals who are not eligible to apply under any other immigration category. These applicants may be inadmissible to Canada (e.g., for being out of status, for past criminality or misrepresentation etc.) or they may experience unusual and undeserved hardship to apply for immigration outside of Canada.


One of the main considerations in the assessment of the H&C application is the Best Interests of a Child (BIOC) who would be directly affected by a decision on the application. Interests of any concerned children under the age of 18 are considered.


Other factors that are important in the H&C application are:


  • Applicant’s establishment and time spent in Canada
  • Unusual, underserved and disproportionate hardship if required to leave Canada
  • Lack of establishment and family members outside Canada

There are people who cannot apply for H&C. These include:


  • A refugee claimant
  • A failed refugee claimant
  • A designated foreign national (a person who entered Canada from an irregular way and was designated by the Minister as a member of a special category)

Processing times under the H&C category are quite long (the application may take years to be finalized), while the approval rate is low. It is critical to submit extensive credible and objective documentary evidence in support of the H&C claim to prove that the application has merit.


If you find yourself in exceptional circumstances, contact us to share your story with one of our counsels who will carefully review your situation and advise if you have a viable H&C case.


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