May has been a busy month for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). At the beginning of May, IRCC announced the eradication of a 2-year condition which required spouses or common-law partners to reside with their sponsor as part of Canada’s continued Family Sponsorship initiatives.
As of this week, IRCC has also announced that Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Age of Dependent Children) would be amended as well, stating the age of dependent children to be included in immigration applications for Canadian permanent residence will revert back to former regulations prior to August 1, 2014.
Currently, IRCC regulations allow dependent children less than 19 years of age to be included on an application for immigration to Canada.
The amended regulations will effectively raise the age of a dependent child to under 22 years, with the condition the child is not married or in a common-law relationship. In addition, the new regulations will redefine a “dependent child” eligible for Canadian permanent residence, which will apply to categories for family, economic, or refugee-related programs.
The new amendments also state that a dependent child aged 22 years or older may also be eligible for immigration to Canada if he or she is financially reliant on the parent(s) before 22 years of age, or under the circumstance the child cannot support him or herself financially due to physical or psychological conditions.
The amendments to IRCC’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Age of Dependent Children) will go into effect on October 24, 2017. However, the new regulations will not be applied retroactively to applications submitted before that date. In short, prospective applicants for immigration to Canada can begin gathering required documents and forms (at QICMS, we always recommend getting a head start on the application process), but cannot officially submit the application before October 24, 2017 if a dependent child is 19 years of age or older, as they will not be eligible for immigration under IRCC’s current or amended regulations.
Family reunification is a priority of the Government of Canada, and the future amendments to IRCC dependent child regulations reflect statistical trends in Canada for young adults—generally between the age of 20 and 24—remaining financially and emotionally dependent on their parent(s). Studies indicate that these trends will continue to increase as more children remain at home while they pursue higher education (post-secondary)* or for other reasons. By raising the age of dependent children eligible for inclusion on immigration applications to Canada, IRCC can better facilitate programs that focus on family reunification.
*For a dependent child to be eligible under new IRCC regulations, the dependent child must be enrolled in an accredited college or university full-time prior to application submission as well as the duration of the application processing period until it is approved or otherwise.
Indeed, in October 2016, IRCC had published an announcement that contained the proposed amendments in the Government of Canada’s official Gazette as a means to garner feedback from various stakeholder groups and immigration advocates. Support for the proposed amendments was largely positive and align with Canada’s endeavor to allow family members separated by international borders and long distances a greater opportunity to live together. Although the amendments will not go into effect until October, it seems the Canadian government is taking the right steps to follow through in its plans for increasing family reunification and family sponsorship programs.
For inquiries about Canadian immigration policy regarding dependent children, contact our offices today and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
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