Client Question: My ex-husband and I met while living in South Africa, where we married and had a son. We moved to Canada on a temporary work permit when he was 5 because my husband got a job in Toronto. A few years later we divorced.
My husband has since received permanent residence for himself and our son, while I have remained in Canada by extending my temporary status. Is there any way that I can also get PR status in Canada so that I can remain with my son? I have little work experience, a high school diploma and minimal funds. My son is currently 10 years old.
Answer: This is an unfortunate situation, and the lack of work experience, education or money means that things like Express Entry or Provincial Programs, Work Permits or an education as an International Student are likely out of the question. The son is also too young to sponsor his mother.
However options may exist with a Humanitarian & Compassionate application. Known as H&C, these applications exist outside of the rules of normal immigration programs, created to assist those who fail to qualify for any other program, but have humanitarian grounds or compassionate grounds to remain in the country. This can include considerations of things like an individual's connections to and involvement in their community; the time they have spent living in the same location; their social or family connections, and any undue hardships they might face upon their return to their home country. Perhaps most importantly, these cases also consider the effect on any children involved in the application.
The best case would be that this woman has joint custody of her son, has lived in the same community in Canada for a number of years and has developed a strong social network, maybe is involved in the local church or other community groups, and can demonstrate that her return to South Africa, whether with or without her son, would cause undue hardship on herself and her son. In this case, she might have a chance at a successful H&C application. I say might because H&C applications have only a 10%-20% success rate, making them one of the most difficult applications to have approved. This is important to know if ever someone tells you that they can guarantee the success of an H&C application; if someone tells you that, they are lying!
Have a great day,