On May 3, 2017, the Government of Canada announced that there will be a change to the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”) to increase the maximum age limit of a dependent child from 19 years to 22 years, to encourage family reunification. This change will come into effect on October 24, 2017 and upon coming into effect, principal applicants can include their dependent children aged 22 and under on their immigration applications.
The term “dependent child” under the IRPR refers to a foreign national who is a member of the family class of a sponsor. Currently, a biological or adopted child of the applicant and that of the spouse is a dependent, if the child is:
- under the age of 19 and does not have a spouse or common-law partner; or
- 19 years of age or older and is unable to be financially self-sufficient since before the age of 19 due to a physical or mental condition.
The changes to the age limit of a dependent child reflects the Canadian government’s commitment to family reunification as a priority within the immigration system. This change will also have positive social and cultural impacts by keeping families together. It will better address humanitarian and safety concerns by enabling more family members to qualify as dependents and will further help to enhance Canada’s economy by making it a destination of choice for skilled immigrants who want to keep their families together.
This change will apply to new applications for all immigration programs under the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada immigration applications, including permanent residence through economic, family, refugee, and humanitarian programs. Therefore, children who are 22 years of age or older who have depended substantially on the financial support of their parent before the age of 22 years, and who are unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition, will continue to be considered dependent children. For more information on this change, click on http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2017/2017-05-03/html/sor-dors60-eng.php