Permanent Residence > Exceptional Cases

Exceptional Cases

In the exceptional circumstances, the permanent residence could be granted to a foreign national who would otherwise not qualify in any class. The purpose of humanitarian and compassionate discretion is to allow flexibility to approve deserving cases not covered by the legislation.

In some cases, people who would not be eligible to become permanent residents of Canada may be able to apply on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.

Compassionate and humanitarian grounds apply to people with exceptional cases. Factors that are important include:

  • General family ties to Canada.
  • How settled the person is in Canada
  • The best interests of any children involved in the case, and
  • What could happen to you if we do not allow the request?

Other rules include:

  • You may only ask for compassionate and humanitarian grounds if you are applying for a permanent resident visa abroad or permanent resident status in Canada.  H&C requests from temporary resident applicants will immediately get a refusal.
  • You cannot have more than one compassionate and humanitarian grounds application at the same time.
  • You cannot apply if you have an awaiting refugee claim. If you want to apply, you must withdraw this claim before your Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada hearing.
  • We will not assess risk factors such as the risk of life, persecution, unusual and cruel treatment or punishment.
  • If you had a negative decision from the IRB within the last 12 months, you cannot apply for compassionate and humanitarian grounds. This is also called the “one year bar.” It does not apply if:
  • You have evidence that you or one of your dependants suffers from a serious medical condition that is untreatable in your home country.
  • You have children under 18 who would be harmfully affected by your removal from Canada.

Designated foreign national

If a person who enters or tries to enter Canada in a way that is against the law he or she fall under “irregular arrival.” This means that they will face certain restrictions and rules. The Minister of Public Safety will inform you in writing if you are one.

You cannot apply for compassionate and humanitarian grounds until five years have passed since:

  • The IRB made a final negative decision on your refugee claim the day you became a designated foreign national and/or
  • You got a negative decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, and/or
  • If you applied for H&C grounds and then became a designated foreign national, your  application will get a suspension for five years from the date:
  • You were designated, or
  • of a negative decision from the IRB, or
  • of a negative Pre-Removal Risk Assessment decision.

Removal orders

If you get an order to leave Canada (removal order), you may be able to apply to stay in Canada on compassionate and humanitarian grounds, unless any of the above restrictions apply to you.

Your application will not delay or prevent your removal from Canada. You must leave on or before the date stated on your removal order.  But after processing your application, even if you have to leave Canada, you will decide in your case.

There is no assurance of application approval. There is no right to appeal a refused application. Only in rare cases, you can request the Federal Court of Canada to review the decision.

Note: Remember to keep your application up-to-date, and it is your responsibility to inform about any changes. This is very important for decision-makers to have all the right information for making a final decision.

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April 2019