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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

Back to the future

Age of dependent child raised to 22

by Michael Scott

The one constant in immigration is change. We are in a world where things change with the stroke of a pen or – in the Trump world – by an early morning tweet. Hold on to your hats because not all change is bad. There are amendments that will be roundly applauded by most readers. The change I write about today is the Minister of Immigration’s announcement of May 3, 2017 that the maximum age of a dependent child will change once again. The “new” limit restores the age maximum to 22 from the current 19. If this sounds like “Back to the Future” or “nothing new under the sun,” you have taken the words from my keyboard.

At present, the existing Immigration and Refugee Act and Regulations defines a dependent child for purposes of immigration. IRPR section 2 reads:

“Dependent child, in respect of a parent, means a child who (a) has one of the following relationships with the parent, namely, (i) is the biological child of the parent, if the child has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner of the parent, or (ii) is the adopted child of the parent; and (b) is in one of the following situations of dependency, namely, (i) is less than 19 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner, or (ii) is 19 years of age or older and has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 19 and is unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.”

The announced change will affect IRPR sections 2 (b)(i) and (ii). As of October 14, 2017, the new age limit for dependent child will once again become “under 22” from the current “less than 19 years of age.”

The explanation offered by the Liberal government for the change is that “the higher age limit will have positive social and cultural impacts by keeping families together. It will better address humanitarian and safety concerns” and “help to enhance Canada’s economy by making it a destination of choice for skilled immigrants who want to keep their families together.” The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship, sees the increased age as positive for the Canada.

“Raising the age of dependents lets families stay together. This will bring economic and social gains to our country as it enhances our attractiveness as a destination of choice for immigrants and refugees.”

The wisdom of removing dependent children between the ages of 19 to 22 from the definition of “dependent child” made no sense to many of us in the past. It may, in point of fact, help explain why we as a country voted out the Harper government in 2015. Anti-immigration policies and measures do not sell well inside Canada. It is with welcome relief that common sense has prevailed after several years of needless suffering and pain for families split apart by restrictive immigration laws.

The reversal to age 22 is consistent with global socioeconomic trends for children to stay home longer. This will allow these young adults to pursue their post-secondary education and provide Canada with a pool of talent, keep families together, and our country competitive as a choice destination for immigrants and overall enhance our economy.

The change does not require an act of Parliament but rather an amendment to the regulations. Look to October 24, 2017 as a time for potential applicants and users to reconsider their options. This is yet another of the restrictive, ill conceived, anti-immigration measures of the past that is being changed. Why change it, if it isn’t broke? In this case. it is better to go “Back to the Future.” Thank you Minister Hussen.

Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: mscott.ici@gmail.com.

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