On October 24, 2017, Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) increased the age of dependent children from “under 19” to “under 22.” This means principal applicants may include their children aged 21 and under, who are not married or in a common-law relationship, on their immigration application. Children above the age of 22 can also be considered dependent children if they have depended substantially on the financial support of their parents since before the age of 22 and are unable to support themselves financially due to a physical or mental condition. The definition of “dependent child” applies to all immigration programs, including permanent resident and refugee applications.
This recent regulation change represents a return to the pre-August 2014 definition of a dependent child. IRCC has confirmed that the age limit change will not be applied retroactively to applications submitted on or after August 1, 2014, and before October 24, 2017. It explained its decision, stating that ‘applying the change to in-process applications would require a pause in finalizing many permanent residence applications and would impact processing times in many programs.’
This change in regulations is in line with IRCC’s commitment to family reunification. In today’s economy, children remain a dependent of their parents for a longer period of time and the increase in dependents’ age will keep families together and facilitate their integration into Canadian society. This, in turn will lead to immigrant and refugee families becoming economically established at a faster rate by having their support system with them and alleviating concerns that would have risen out of being separated from their family members. Another goal the government hopes to achieve by enhancing the age limit is to address humanitarian and safety concerns by enabling more family members to be included on a refugee application.
We can help you navigate the maze of forms and requirements. For a detailed assessment of your immigration options, contact us for a consultation by emailing us at [email protected] or by calling 416-847-3347.