On May 10, 2013, the Government of Canada introduced a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement regarding the definition of Dependent Child for immigration purposes.
Several proposed regulatory amendments were announced by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, as part of a press release regarding the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification. These amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”) are expected to come into effect on January 1, 2014.
These amendments follow recently announced reforms to the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class as paths toward Permanent Residency in Canada. Collectively, the amendments are said to be enacted with the goal of attracting immigrants who have skills and experience that will contribute to Canada’s economic growth.
The Government of Canada has set the following as objectives of its immigration system:
to fuel economic prosperity within Canada by selecting immigrants who possess the skills and experience best able to support a strong and growing economy;
to ensure that Canada’s immigration priorities are focused on addressing economic and labour force needs;
to transition to a more efficient economic immigration system thereby decreasing application backlogs and lengthy wait times; and
to maximize the economic benefits of immigration through improvements to the fiscal sustainability of the immigration system.
Among other initiatives, these objectives are said to be achievable through the following proposed regulatory amendment regarding the maximum age of dependents:
Currently, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”) provide that children may be in a situation of dependency upon their parent(s) until the age of 22 or until they become a spouse or common-law partner, whichever comes first. Children older than 22 years of age may also be considered dependent if they have relied upon their parent(s) for financial support to attend school on a continuous and full-time basis since before reaching the age of 22.
Under the proposed regulatory amendments, only children 18 years of age and under may enter Canada as dependents of a principal applicant. This change has universal application to all immigration programs and reflects the standard age of majority in Canada. Persons over the age of 18, whether entering Canada with their parent(s) or not, will be required to make an independent application to visit, work, study, or immigrate to Canada. The exception to this amendment remains as it currently stands, and relates to children who are dependent upon the financial support of their parents due to a mental or physical disability.
The primary objective of the proposed amendment is to admit younger dependent children, as they are thought more likely to be successful in integrating into the labour market and they will spend a longer period of time contributing to the Canadian economy.
In light of the foregoing, we encourage our clients to proactively consider the family complements of those employees who are Temporary Foreign Workers and who might be seeking permanent residency status in Canada. For more information concerning this latest announcement, please see: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/backgrounders/2013/2013-05-10a.asp