Humanitarian and Compassionate Applications

Section 25 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act permits individuals to apply for landing from inside or outside Canada on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds. Section 25 permits the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, upon request of a foreign national who is inadmissible or who does not meet the requirements of this Act or on the Minister’s own initiative, to examine the circumstances concerning the foreign national. The Minister may grant the foreign national permanent resident status if the Minister is of the opinion that it is justified by H&C considerations, taking into account the best interests of a child directly affected, or by public policy considerations.

H&C applications are assessed based on the applicant’s establishment in Canada (if filed in Canada) and the degree to which the applicant would experience hardship if forced to apply from outside of Canada.

The existence of a pending H&C application does not prevent the Minister from deporting the applicant from Canada before his/her application has been considered.

Success with this type of application is usually limited to individuals who have been in Canada for a lengthy period of time or who are spouses of Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are in Canada. Permanent residence may also be granted to other people with specific circumstances that are extremely compelling.

There are also limitations on who is eligible to apply for H&C, as there is: a 1-year bar on refugee claimants; 5-year bar on designated foreign nationals; and foreign nationals who are inadmissible under sections 34 (Security grounds), 35 (Human or international rights violations grounds) or 37 (organized criminality grounds).

Otherwise, H&C is a useful tool that can overcome almost any other type of inadmissibility, and requires representation by a qualified immigration lawyer with experience in H&C hearings. Individuals who believe their personal circumstances may warrant humanitarian and compassionate consideration should contact our office immediately for a consultation. Please note that all consultations are held in strict confidence.

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