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Who decides H&C applications?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada or CIC) decides. There are two stages of approval. A successful H&C applicant will be:

  1. allowed to apply for permanent residence in Canada for humanitarian and compassionate reasons, and
  2. approved for permanent resident status in Canada.

An applicant who is approved at the first stage could still be refused at the second stage. This could happen, for example, if they do not meet the requirements for permanent resident status.

How IRCC decides

The decision on an H&C application is "discretionary". This means that immigration officers have a lot of freedom in deciding these applications. But they must base their decisions on the evidence and they must consider all of the evidence as a whole when deciding whether the application is strong enough.

Because there is usually no interview, it is important to:

  • send the best possible evidence to support the application, and
  • explain all of the reasons to stay in Canada.

If there is a child who would be directly affected if the applicant had to return to their home country, IRCC must consider what is in the child's best interests.

If there are mistakes in the application or the supporting evidence is not strong, the application may be denied. It is best to get legal help with the application.

Last updated: Apr 25, 2016


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