ARCHIVED – Notice – Changes to the definition of a dependent child

June 23, 2014 — Effective August 1, 2014, the definition of a dependent child is changing for Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC’s) immigration programs.

The age at which a child will be considered a dependant is being reduced, from under 22 to under 19.

The exception for full-time students is also being removed. Children of applicants who are 19 or over but are financially dependent on their parents and are enrolled in full-time studies will no longer be eligible to be processed as dependent children.

In all cases, a child will continue to be considered a dependant, regardless of age, if they have depended on their parents for financial support because of a mental or physical condition.

Reducing the age for dependants to under 19 in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) will bring the IRPR in line with provincial definitions of “age of majority,” which is currently evenly split between 18 and 19 across provinces and territories.

Young adults will be able to apply to come to Canada on their own merits, as foreign students or through various economic programs.

All permanent resident applications in CIC inventories before August 1, 2014 will continue to benefit from the pre-amendment definition of dependent child.

Transitional measures will allow certain applicants under multi-step permanent resident immigration programs who are already in the immigration process at the time these regulations come into force on August 1, 2014, but who have not yet submitted their application for permanent residence, to have their applications completed based on the previous definition of dependent child.

These transitional measures will apply to certain groups, including:

  • Provincial Nominee Program applicants;
  • Applicants who have applied under one of Quebec’s economic programs;
  • Live-in caregivers;
  • Refugees abroad and refugee claimants;
  • Quebec humanitarian cases;
  • Parents or grandparents whose sponsorship applications were received before November 5, 2011; and
  • Privately sponsored refugees whose sponsorship applications were received before October 18, 2012.

In addition, as of August 1, 2014, to ensure that children who meet the definition of dependent child at the first stage of a multi-step permanent resident immigration program remain eligible throughout what can be a multi-year process; the child’s age will be “locked in” at the first formal step of the immigration process. For example, the age of a child whose parent applies to the Provincial Nominee Program will be “locked in” on the date that the application for nomination is made to the province.

The change in the definition comes into force on August 1, 2014; however the regulatory package has now been published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, and can be found on their website.

For more information, please visit CIC's website.


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