Canada raises immigration age of dependent children

The Government of Canada has published regulatory changes to increase the maximum age of dependent children which will allow more families to stay together. This change showcases the Government’s commitment to family reunification.

The new age limit of ‘under 22’ will come into effect on 24th October, raising it from the current ‘under 19’ requirement. The increased age will apply to new applications for all immigration programs under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, including for refugees. Children who are 22 years of age or older and who rely on their parents due to a physical or mental health condition will continue to be considered dependent children.

“Raising the age of dependants lets more families stay together,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “This will bring economic and social gains to our country as it enhances our attractiveness as a destination of choice for immigrants and refugees.”

The change is consistent with the global socioeconomic trend for children to stay home longer, including to pursue their post-secondary education. The change would allow older immigrant children, aged 19 to 21, to study in Canada thereby boosting the pool of applicants from which Canadian post-secondary schools can draw talented students.

Family reunification is a key immigration commitment of the Government of Canada. The Government has recently made a number of important changes to uphold this commitment.

Regulations were recently published to eliminate the conditional permanent residence measure in recognition that most marriages are genuine and to reduce the vulnerability of spouses in the immigration program.

Access to the parent and grandparent program has also been improved in the past few months with changes made to the 2017 application process to make it fairer and more transparent. In 2016, the number of parent and grandparent sponsorship applications accepted each year for intake was doubled to 10 000 applications, and the Government announced processing times for most sponsored spouses and partners would be reduced to 12 months.

Article published 4th May 2017