This article is meant to assist individuals in understanding some of the issues and challenges that Applicants face when trying to prepare an application for permanent residence under Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations (H&C Application). It is not to be construed as legal advice.
What is a Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations Applications?
A Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations Application from within Canada is an application for permanent residence for foreign nationals within Canada who do not have any other pathway for permanent residence but have made Canada their home.
At first glance, it can seem daunting to prepare such an application or know where to start from.
The added pressure of this avenue possibly being the last hope for you and/or your family is unimaginable.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to alleviate the stress and break down the tasks by following these 5 tips.
1. Review your Previous Immigration Applications in Canada before preparing an H&C application
You should first make sure to review your past immigration history.
If you previously made a refugee protection claim, refer to your records and documents that were submitted and issued from Refugee Protection Division and/or the Refugee Appeal Division.
If one of your matter’s was before the federal court, review your certified tribunal record or Application Record.
If you did not seek asylum, review any previous applications you have made to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in the past.
If you no longer have access to these documents and forms, you can make an access to information request to the Immigration and Refugee Board or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to obtain a copy of your previously submitted documents.
It is important that you are able to explain what led to Canada becoming your home to an immigration officer when preparing an H&C application this includes your immigration history.
2. Review immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Guide on H&C Applications
For any applicant, reviewing Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Guide on Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations Applications is an important step to get you started on your task.
The guide will help you understand the factors that the IRCC gives weight to when considering this type of application.
While this document is long and arduous to go through, it is a useful place for you to determine what is required to submit a complete application, whether you are eligible or not, and if so, which forms and documents are required.
3. Be careful when completing your Forms in an H&C application
The guide is also a useful place to download the latest version of forms you will be required to submit with your application for permanent residence under humanitarian and compassionate considerations.
As an applicant, it will be much easier to fill out the forms as you have firsthand knowledge of your personal information.
However, be mindful that some of the questions are not as straight forward. Please be mindful of the sections pertaining to your background information and whether you have ever been denied a Visa to Canada or any other country.
Take great care to answer truthfully and do not leave any time periods unaccounted for when it comes to your activity, address and education history.
Remember, any inconsistencies, withholding of information or errors can greatly affect the legitimacy of your matter.
4. Understanding Your Situation in an H&C application
Once you have read the guide and understand the requirements for such an application, you can now review your existing documentation that forms the basis of your application.
This type of application is usually the last hope for many applicants and putting as much information in your application is in your best interest.
For example, when considering a Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations application for permanent residence, there are three main areas of focus: a person’s establishment in Canada, the best interests of the child (if they have any) and the hardships they will encounter if they are returned to their home country.
Below are some elements to consider for each ground:
- Establishment – do you own any assets in Canada, have you maintained any meaningful employment during your time in Canada, are you part of a community or religious organization, do you have any programs or volunteer groups you are a part of and can you obtain any supporting letters from friends and family you have made in Canada.
- Best interests of the child – do you have any children in Canada, how old were your children when they first came to Canada, what comforts do your children enjoy in Canada that they would not have if they are sent back. How are they performing in school and outside of school? Do they have friends and relatives here in Canada? It is always useful to consider the conditions and life outlook of children in the country you are being sent to in comparison to your children’s lives in Canada and how it would be impacted or disrupted.
- Hardships – Consider difficulties you will face in supporting yourself and your family in the country you will return to, the state of the economy, implications of moving, chances of support from friends and family, income, crime rate, or any other peculiarities you may have such as religion, gender related issues or existing medical conditions
It will be much easier for you to gather more evidence now that you know which areas of your case will give you the best chance of success.
5.Prepare documents and a statement outlining the above-mentioned Humanitarian and compassionate considerations Factors
Once you have gathered as much information about your circumstances and evidence related to your situation, writing about your circumstances is much easier.
Your sole focus is now organizing your documents in a manner that convinces the officer that you should not be returned to your country of origin.
Start off by discussing how you and your family have established yourselves in Canada, next discuss the best interests of your children if you have any. Last but not least discuss the hardships you and/or your family would face if you were to return to your country of citizenship or habitual residence.
Leave no stone unturned and be sure to include all factors you think may lead the officer to make a positive decision on your application.
Use evidence from credible sources such as non-profit organizations, newspaper articles, government agencies and articles.
Use personal evidence to demonstrate any information that you believe can be corroborated.
For example, if you have children, the best interests of you children should be the central focus of your statement and important documents that can corroborate that the best interests of the child would be impacted should be submitted. Furthermore, if your country of origin has known or existing political, economical or social issues that militate against sending you there due to hardships you would face; this should be another important point to focus in your application supported with documentary evidence.
Include a checklist of all the documentation you have attached to your application in your statement or in a cover letter.
Provide a copy of the documents you wish the office to consider thus ensuring that the officer does not miss anything when reviewing your matter.
We hope this guide will provide you with a useful basis to get started on your Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds/considerations application.
Please remember that this can be an onerous task and starting off by understanding the process itself will make the experience more approachable!
If you would like to learn more about the H&C Applications you may want to book a paid consultation to discuss your matter with a lawyer.
You may also be eligible for Legal Aid coverage if you are unable to afford a lawyer. Our office accepts legal aid certificates.
For more information, please contact us.