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Humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) applications and refugee claims: how are they different?

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What is an H&C application?

An H&C application is an application for permanent residence in Canada. There are 2 stages of approval. A successful applicant will be:

  1. allowed to apply for permanent residence in Canada for humanitarian and compassionate reasons ("approval-in-principle"), 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 if they do not meet the requirements for permanent resident status.