Age Limit for Dependent Children Increased | Canada Immigration News

Published on: May 4th, 2017

The Government of Canada has announced that the maximum age of a dependent child will be increased from “under 19” to “under 22” years old. The change will come into effect on October 24, 2017, and will apply to new applications for all Canadian immigration programs.


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  1. Dependents for Canadian immigration programs are now considered as anyone under the age of 22.
  2. These changes are in alignment with the Canadian government’s commitment for better family immigration programs.
  3. These changes will come into effect on October 24, 2017.

Family reunification is the second largest category of Canadian immigration, second only to economic immigration. Economic immigration usually includes a principal applicant and their dependent family members, including a spouse or partner and any dependent children.

The previous administration decreased the age limit from under 22 to under 19, and restoring the maximum age of a dependent child was one of the Liberal Party’s 2015 campaign promises. Children who exceed the age limit but who “rely on their parents due to a physical or mental health condition” may also still be considered dependents.

Helping Families Stay Together

These changes mean that families across every type of immigration stream can stay together when they come to Canada. It also means that older immigrant children will have the opportunity to study in Canada and use these credentials to better prepare for the Canadian workforce after graduation.

"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."

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

By increasing the age limit, refugees can now claim more family members as dependents, ensuring that those currently being persecuted have higher chances of immigrating together as a family. Having this strong support group helps make the integration process in Canada less daunting for newcomers.

Canada's Ongoing Commitment

These changes, as express by the Trudeau administration, reflect Canada’s ongoing commitment for better family reunification programs. Recently, the parent and grandparent program saw their quota intake double from 5 000 to 10 000, making the application process fairer and more transparent. Also, conditional permanent residence for spousal sponsorship programs was removed. The previous two-year conditional rule was largely scrutinized since it encouraged individuals to remain in dangerous or vulnerable positions in fear of deportation, even if the policy would be annulled in cases of abuse or neglect.


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