October 31, 2017

Regulation Change Increases Age Limit to 21 for Dependent Children on Canadian Immigration Applications

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Starting October 24, 2017 a regulation change has come into affect increasing the age limit for dependent children of Canadian immigration applicants, and refugee claimants. The age considered as dependent is raised from under 19 to under 22. This new definition applies to all applications received on or after October  24, 2017.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Mr. Ahmed Hussen, confirmed in a statement earlier this year that “Raising the age of dependents 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.”

Minister Hussen’s comment displays a clear understanding of the importance that family ties play in economic establishment in Canada. The Minister also expects that increasing the age limit will enhance the economy by making Canada a destination of choice for skilled immigrants desiring to keep their families together. He also hopes to address safety concerns by enabling more family members of refugees to qualify as dependents. It is the latest policy change from the Trudeau government’s effort to signal a progressive and welcoming outlook on immigration policy.

It is important to note, however, not everyone will be able to take advantage. Applications received between August  1, 2014, and October  23, 2017, when the previous definition was in effect, will be assessed based on the under 19 definition. No provision exists allowing families who submitted applications during this period to add adult dependent children aged 19 to 21. They will be required to submit their own applications as adults under existing programs, or they will be able to be sponsored under the family class.

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