More Families May Stay Together in Canada with Increase to Dependant Child Age

For many of us, family means security and support. Of course that means that for some who are immigrating to a new country, keeping their families together is more important than ever. More families now may be able to stay united due to Canada’s announced changes to the maximum age of a dependent child.

The new age limit of a dependent child will be increased to “under 22” on October 24, 2017.

The Canadian government’s commitment to family reunification was the reason for the previous age of “under 19” to be increased. The age will apply to new applications after October 24 for all immigration programs under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Children who are 22 years of age or older and who rely on their parents due to a physical or mental health condition will continue to be considered dependent children.

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This change is necessary to keep more families together and is especially of importance to family members of refugees who can now qualify as dependents.

“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.” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

The age increase will apply to new applications after October 24, 2017 for all immigration programs under IRCC.

Additionally, the new age limit is appropriate when taking into consideration the global socioeconomic trend for children to live with their families longer to attend post-secondary school. The age limit change will allow older immigrant children, aged 19 to 21, to study in Canada. It is the hope that this adjustment will also make Canada a more appealing home to skilled immigrants who want to take their family with them when they leave their country.

Recently, Canada has taken another step to prioritize family reunification and fight against gender-based violence with the removal of conditional permanent residence.

For applicants who submitted a permanent residence application between August 1, 2014, and October 23, 2017, the current “under 19” definition of a dependent child applies.