Canada Changes its “Dependent Children” Immigration Policy


As of January 1st, 2014, candidates applying for Canadian Immigration for children who are 19 or older will not be able to sponsor them through Family Sponsorship immigration. Instead, these children will have to apply for Canadian immigration individually.

Presently, a “dependent child” is considered to be so as long as she or she is under the age of 22. These dependents are automatically accepted into the country if their parents qualify to become permanent residents of Canada. Exceptions to this under-22-year-old rule include children who are married and are therefore considered to no longer be dependent on their parents. On the other hand, applicants who are older than 22 but are still financially dependent on their parents and are enrolled in full-time studies will be considered as dependents of their parents when applying for immigration.

The most up-to-date statistics from Ottawa show that nearly 90% of sponsored children who applied tor immigration in 2012, or 64,757, were under the age of 19. Meanwhile, in the same year, only 7,327 dependent children applicants were over the age of 19.

As a result, the main reason for lowering the age of dependent children is that it will determine where the individuals will be receiving their post-secondary education. The process of credential recognition can be extremely tedious and may results in individuals not working in their proper field due to industry standards or language requirements.

“The earlier in life immigrants arrive, the more their educational experience will resemble that of their Canadian-born counterparts, and the easier it will be to learn an official language and adapt to Canadian cultural traits and social norms,” Claims the federal government  in an outline of the proposal to change the age of dependent children.

Canada’s policy on dependent children contrasts sharply with that of other countries. For example, the age of child dependency goes to up to 25 in Australia and 21 in the US. Similarly, In New Zealand, the age of the dependent child is up to 24 years or younger with specific qualifications. Regarding applicants immigrating to Britain, if a child is 18 year of age or older, he cannot immigrate with his parents as a dependent.

It appears then that Canada is moving towards the British system by lowing the age of dependent children to 19. Considering that recent Canadian immigration statistics show that an overwhelming majority of dependent children applicants are 18 and under, this new age of dependent children may soon be adopted by other nations.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration, follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.


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