Immigration cuts age for dependent children

By Gerald V. Paul

Come January 1, Immigration Canada’s “dependent child” definition will be someone younger than 19, rather than the current 22, and an exception for older children who study full time will also be removed.

The new rules could make roughly 7,000 immigrants a year ineligible to come to Canada. The change will ultimately apply to live-in caregivers and refugees, the department said. For these groups, the process of qualifying for permanent resident status in Canada varies and can take years, and by then, their children may miss the age cut-off.

But Citizenship and Immigration Canada said it is time-consuming to process applications of older children.

The department said the age cut comes because 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.

“Age at immigration frequently determines where a person receives his or her education. With the difficulties in determining foreign credentials value in Canada and evidence that the return on Canadian education is much higher, age at immigration becomes the most important factor in determining the economic outcomes of immigrants,” the department said.