Immigration Canada Revises Age Threshold for Dependents

Until 3 years ago, ‘dependent’ for Canadian immigration purposes meant a child under the age of 22 (with some exceptions for children with health issues reliant on parental financial support). In June 2014, the government of the day revised the dependency age to ‘under 19’. This meant that many families, whether in a temporary or permanent immigration scenario, lost the ability to include children aged 19 to 21.

Effective October 24, 2017, the new Canadian Liberal government will reset the age of dependency back to ‘under 19’ again. This is of course good news for many families, and will have an impact for families whether here on temporary work or other permits, or seeking permanent residence. (As an aside, this change is consistent with numerous ongoing studies and reports that indicate that children are ‘living at home’ much longer than they have in the past.)

One very interesting and important caveat to note though is that any permanent residence application already submitted, or to be submitted between now and October 24, will continue to be governed by the ‘under 19’ rule. This may impact on planning and the timing of applications – and may require a trade-off between (a) including a child in the application, and (b) facing a reduction of points for age for the principle applicant. It would have seemed that this rule should be retroactively applied, but at least for now, that is not the case. In many instances though, children caught in this situation may be separately sponsored for permanent residence.