Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has made major changes to the definition of “dependent child” it uses for purposes of its immigration programs. These changes, which take effect August 1st, 2014, will significantly reduce the number of older children and students who in the past would have qualified as dependent children for immigration purposes. If you will be applying to immigrate to Canada with your children, it is important to understand these changes as they may require your children to pursue their immigration needs on their own merits rather than as dependents.
Age Reduced from 22 to 19
Specifically, after August 1, in order to be considered a dependent child for the purposes of immigration, an individual must:
- Be under 19 years of age; and
- Be neither married nor in a common-law relationship
Previously, unmarried children under the age of 22 could qualify as dependent children as could children who were reliant on the financial support of their parent(s) and studying as a full-time student since before they turned 22 or since becoming a spouse or common-law partner. All permanent resident applications in CIC’s inventories prior to August 1st will be considered under the old definition.
One aspect of the definition that has not changed applies to children who are dependent on the financial support of their parents due to a physical or mental condition. Those who fit that description will still be considered dependent children regardless of their age. However, children over the age of 19 will no longer be considered dependent just because they are engaged in full-time studies.
If your family includes children that will no longer meet the definition of a dependent child under the new rules and you wish to include them as part of your immigration efforts, it is important that your application be submitted to CIC before August 1st. After that date, young adults who find themselves outside of the new definition’s parameters will need to apply to come to Canada on their own merits as adults through the numerous student and immigration programs available to adults at large.
If you have questions about the new definition or have any other issues regarding dependent children immigrating to Canada, please contact Toronto immigration lawyer Larry Butkowsky. His legal practice focuses solely on immigration law and he can assist you with all of your immigration questions, concerns, and issues.
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