Global Alerts

Canada – Canada Raises Maximum Age of Dependent Children

The Canadian government has announced that it will raise the maximum age for which a child on an immigration application can be considered as a dependent. Beginning October 24, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will permit applicants to put children who are 21 and under, and are neither married nor in a common-law relationship, on their permanent residency applications. This measure reverses the policy of the previous government who had lowered the maximum age from 22 to 19 in 2014.

The new regulations will apply to dependent children appearing on permanent residence applications through economic, family, humanitarian, and refugee programs. Children who are 22 or older and who have had to depend substantially on their parents’ financial support since they were younger than 22 can possibly be deemed dependent if they cannot support themselves financially due to physical or mental health problems.

However, any application submitted up to October 24 will still be adjudicated under the current “under 19” rule. This may have an effect on immigrants’ decisions as to when to apply for residency and may involve trading-off between including a child on the application and risking a reduction of points for the principal applicant’s age.

This change represents a major IRCC goal under the Liberal government which had made family reunification an important goal since coming to power in November 2015. Moreover, the new regulation aligns with data that shows that children are financially dependent on their parents for longer periods of time.

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