On October 24, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) increased the maximum age of a dependent child who may be included on an application to immigrate to Canada from under 19 years of age, to under 22 years of age.
Principal applicants can now include dependent children under the age of 22, who are not married or in common-law relationships, in their applications for Canadian permanent residence. Previously, the maximum age of a dependent child was 18.
The new definition of a dependent child will apply for permanent residence applications through economic, family, and humanitarian/refugee programs.
This updated definition of dependent child will not be applied retroactively and only applies only to new applications submitted on or after October 24, 2017.
Raising the age of dependency acknowledges that young people are remaining dependent on their parents for longer than the previous definition had accommodated. By allowing older children to come to Canada with their parents as dependents, the change seeks to improve integration and economic success of newcomers by keeping families together for longer. The age increase also seeks to accommodate the increasing number of children pursuing higher education.
Although the minimum age for principal applicants under Canadian economic immigration programs is usually 18, many young people would not have the education or work experience needed to be eligible on their own. As such, increasing the maximum age of dependency allows young people to pursue further education in Canada when they may not be eligible for permanent residence otherwise.