Changes to Definition of Dependent Child – Age Increase to 22 Years Old

November 8, 2017

By: Law Office of Jeff Jiehui Li

As of October 24, 2017, the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) increased the age limit under the definition of a “dependent child”. Individuals under the age of 22 years old now qualify as dependent children upon submission of an application for permanent residence, provided that they are not married or not in a common-law relationship. Individuals that submitted their sponsorship applications with dependent children between the ages of 19 and 21 on or before July 31, 2014 may also benefit from this amendment.

The recent change is the government’s response to the emphasis of family reunification as a priority within the immigration system. Given the growing trend of children remaining financial and emotionally dependent on other members of the family, as well as the number of young people stranded in their home countries, the age increase seeks to improve integration and economic success of newcomers to Canada. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada supported that “a higher age limit will have more positive social and cultural impacts by keeping families together”. Refugees applying for new applications will also benefit from the change, as IRCC recognized that this would “also better address humanitarian and safety concerns by enabling more family members of refugees to qualify as dependents.”

The Minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen, remarked that this change would allow children between the ages of 19 to 21 to study in Canada, which would boost “the pool of applicants from which Canadian post-secondary schools can draw talented students”. Mr. Hussen also added that “these individuals would be equipped with a Canadian education and be able to contribute to Canada’s economy”. By placing an emphasis on family reunification as a priority, this change will improve the immigration process for newcomers to Canada.

Well said and well done.

If you need more information about the latest changes or your immigration case, please contact the Law Office of Jeff Jiehui Li today.


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