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What are some of the differences between an H&C application and a refugee claim?

H&C Applications Refugee Claims
H&C applicants do not usually get an interview. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada or CIC) usually bases its decision on the written application. Refugee claimants have the right to a hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board.
Being settled in Canada, with a work history and strong family relationships, increases an applicant's chances of success. Being established in Canada is not relevant to a refugee claim.

IRCC must consider any humanitarian & compassionate reasons that an applicant should be allowed to say in Canada. They are not allowed to consider the risks the Immigration and Refugee Board considers when it decides a refugee claim.

But a situation that puts someone at risk may also cause hardship and support an H&C application. For example, a woman who is at risk because of an abusive spouse in her home country may also be able to show H&C reasons she should not be forced to return.

The Immigration and Refugee Board will only consider risks that fit into the "Convention refugee" and "person in need of protection" definitions.
IRCC must consider the best interests of any child under the age of 18 who could be directly affected by the decision on a H&C application. The Immigration and Refugee Board doesn't need to consider the best interests of any child who could be directly affected by their decision. It only decides whether a claimant fits the definition of a Convention refugee or person in need of protection.
IRCC can take a long time, even years, to decide an H&C application. The Immigration and Refugee Board decides most refugee claims more quickly — usually within months.
Making an H&C application does not give an applicant the right to stay in Canada until IRCC makes its decision. A refugee claimant can stay in Canada until the Immigration and Refugee Board decides their claim.
An H&C applicant can get permission to work or study after their application is approved at the first stage.

A refugee claimant who is waiting for the Immigration and Refugee Board to decide their claim can get permission to study or to work, if they need money to support themselves.

Some claimants must wait until they are accepted or until 180 days after their claim is referred to the Board for a hearing.

An H&C applicant must meet all the requirements for permanent residence. Or they must ask for exceptions to those they do not meet. These requirements include health standards and the ability to support themselves financially.

If they do not meet all the requirements, or if they have a family member who does not meet the requirements, they may not be able to get permanent resident status.

A successful refugee claimant can apply for permanent residence and will not have to meet all of the usual requirements. For example, they do not have to show the ability to support themselves financially and they do not have to meet all the usual health standards. And, it does not matter if they have a family member who does not meet all the requirements.
An H&C applicant who is successful at both stages becomes a permanent resident. A permanent resident can lose that status for reasons listed in the law. For example, if they commit a crime that is considered serious under immigration law they could lose their permanent resident status and be forced to leave Canada. A successful refugee claimant gets the status of a protected person and will, in most cases, also become a permanent resident. But if they lose their permanent resident status, in most cases they cannot be forced to leave Canada. This is because they still have the status of a protected person. In most cases the law does not allow a protected person to be sent back to a country where they would be at risk.
A successful H&C applicant becomes a permanent resident. Unlike a protected person, they do not risk losing their permanent resident status only because they travel to or get a passport from their country of nationality. A protected person who becomes a permanent resident could lose their status as a protected person and permanent resident if they voluntarily go back under the protection of their country of nationality. This could happen if they travel to or get a passport from that country. They could then be forced to leave Canada.

An H&C applicant must pay a processing fee to apply. The current fees are:

  • $550 for each adult
  • $150 for each child under the age of 19 included in the application

An H&C applicant who is successful at the first stage will then have to pay a Right of Permanent Residence Fee. The current fee is $490 for each adult. There is no fee for children.

There is no fee to make a refugee claim.

A protected person will have to pay a processing fee to apply for permanent residence but does not have to pay a Right of Permanent Residence Fee.

 



Last updated: Apr 14, 2016

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