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Government Plans to Raise Maximum Age of Children on Immigration Applications to under 22

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Two parents and two teenagers hiking in a natural environmentIn a move that has been eagerly anticipated by Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and potential applicants to Canadian immigration programs around the world, the government of Canada has announced that it plans to raise the maximum age of dependent children who may be included on an application to less than 22 years of age.

If approved, the change is expected to take effect in fall 2017, and would apply to applications submitted on or after the regulation comes into force.

Currently, the child of a principal applicant is usually required to be less than 19 years of age in order to be included as a dependent on an application for Canadian permanent resident status, or be eligible as a principal applicant for sponsorship as a dependent child under the family class immigration category. The previous Conservative government lowered the maximum age for the definition of a dependent child on August 1, 2014. Before that, between June 28, 2002, and July 31, 2014, the maximum age was defined as less than 22 years of age. The proposed change simply reverts back to the regulation on the maximum age of dependent children that was in place at that time.

Between 2002 and 2014, 11 per cent of dependent children included on immigration applications were 19 years of age or older.

Family Reunification: an Ongoing Commitment

The Liberal Party, currently in government in Ottawa, has built its immigration policy in no small part on the principle of family reunification. Increasing the maximum age of dependent children means that more families can stay together in their journey towards Canadian permanent resident status.

The statement outlining the planned change, released by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), explains that the proposed change would open doors to permanent resident status for “young adults [who] would be unlikely to be eligible for permanent resident status as principal applicants under an economic immigration program, until they have completed post-secondary education and gained significant work experience.”

Consequently, not only does the planned change mean that more immigrant families can stick together — leading to faster and more successful integration into Canadian society — it also means that more young people will have access to an opportunity and a future in Canada that may have previously been denied to them.

In IRCC’s statement, education was also cited as a key factor in the decision to raise the minimum age.

“Given the importance placed on education, it is not unusual for some children to remain with their nuclear family while pursuing higher education before entering the labour market . . . The proposed increase of the maximum age of dependent children is consistent with the underlying socioeconomic trend that children remain at home longer with their parents, particularly those studying for lengthier periods,” the statement reads.

“Notably, the proposed higher age limit would enable many postsecondary students — who complete a degree at a median age of 24.8 years of age — to be eligible as dependent children through much of their undergraduate studies.”

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, John McCallum, has frequently voiced his support for international students coming to Canada to pursue post-secondary studies. If the planned change takes effect, many young people from across the world may have an opportunity to pursue post-secondary studies in Canada, which would be denied to them otherwise.

A step in the right direction

“In this situation, the fact that IRCC is reverting to a past policy is a step in the right direction,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“The rationale behind the decision to increase the maximum age reflects the reality of so many families today who want their children to obtain the best education possible. Realistically, this often means that children remain dependent on their parents for longer — but the reward is significant. With this change, not only will families be able to stay together, but more young people will be able to benefit from the fantastic opportunities Canada can offer to students and young professionals. Likewise, Canada is sure to benefit from an increase in talented young people at the beginning of their careers — these ‘best and brightest’ that Minister McCallum is so keen to attract.”

Find out more about sponsoring a dependent child.
To find out if you and your child/children are eligible for sponsorship, please fill out a free assessment.

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20 thoughts on “Government Plans to Raise Maximum Age of Children on Immigration Applications to under 22

  1. Avatar
    Marie dela Paz

    I hope It will get effect sooner. I badly miss my children ages 19 and 21. And I am worried because they will turn 20 and 22 this September. Please Canada Let us be together. THANK YOU.

  2. Avatar
    Joejie Gadiano

    The happiest moment of a mother is to be with their children, onspite of hard working and sacrifices to work and to take care of other kids, as we say taking care of our employers children. It will be painful for a mother to work in Canada for long years to be separated with their kids, so this is the best plans in Canada government to raise the maximum age limit of children dependents, for this a lots of mother/parents are so happy to hear this news and waiting for this issue to be implemented. Prayer for us is most powerful. To Canada government we are all so glad to hear the good news. We love you….

  3. Avatar

    I agree on this point. I know people who were trying to apply to sponsor their family in 2014, and had an issue because of the age. If this were to be implemented immediately, the parents would still be able to sponsor their child; but if this is not in effect until late 2017, this child will be 22 and no longer considered a dependant! Not to mention this child is slightly challenged (However not to the point where the government accepted her as ” over the age of 19 and unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.”) The parents take full responsibility for the child and she would be dependant on them or family members for years to come!

  4. Avatar
    Nancy wadhwa

    My case is in express entry pool from 2015 march
    My points are 318
    Is there any way to get pnp of prince Edward Island?
    Can you help me witb this

  5. Avatar


  6. Avatar
    Yusuf Osman Adem

    Hi,there! i’m Ethiopian refugee from oromo tribe based in kenya kakuma refugee camp with my 7 family and i was employed by irc as anutrition program clinicalsuppervisor from 2012 up to date.i’m ahard worker,honest,humble,obedient person,understanding,i’mthe best staff in theprogram,so i kindly requst you offer me any job employmentopportunities.thanks.

  7. Avatar
    Tri Nguyen

    This year , i am 23 age , so i was born 12/18/1993. If the laws start in the next fall , i will really sad :(. huhu

  8. Avatar
    Tri Nguyen

    I was born 18/12/1993 , this year i will 23age , if the law starts next fall , i really will sad 🙁

  9. Avatar

    It is a complete nightmare, first you couldn’t incorporate your child because
    is greater than 18, and now you cannot because is greater than or equal to 21.

    something should be done to recognize children that were dependent from August 2014.

  10. Avatar
    Lesi Francis

    This is nice idea for Canadian government, at list the government are trying to raise children under 22 years age.

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