New regulations come into effect today (October 24) which will increase the age limit of a dependent child for all Canadian immigration programs.
The change means all children aged under 22 can be considered as dependent children by applicants. Previously, only those under 19 were considered as dependents.
In a statement, the Canadian Government says the increased age limit will bring “positive social and cultural impacts by keeping families together.” The Government has previously pledged to prioritizing family reunification in its immigration commitments.
The move is in line with global socioeconomic trends, which show that children are living with their parents for longer, often as they complete post-secondary education. It’s hoped it will encourage immigrant children aged 19 to 21 to study in Canada, thereby equipping them with a local qualification which they can use to contribute to the Canadian economy.
“Raising the age of dependants lets more families stay together. This will bring economic and social gains to our country as it enhances our attractiveness as a destination of choice for immigrants and refugees,” Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said.
The Dependent Child age limit had been under 22 previously, but this was lowered to under 19 in August 2014.
Applications submitted between August 1, 2014 and October 24, 2017 will not benefit from the increased age limit. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says processing times for permanent residence applications would be negatively impacted if they were to apply the rule change retroactively.
A person aged 22 or older who relies on their parents because of a physical or mental health condition will continue to be considered as a dependent child.
The increased age limit will impact all immigration programs. The Government hopes the move will enable more family members of refugees to qualify as dependents, thereby addressing humanitarian concerns they may otherwise have faced.
Almost 35 per cent of adults in Canada aged between 20 and 34 live with at least one parent, according to census data published in August 2017.
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