What does it mean to be a “Dependent Child” under Canada’s immigration laws?  On August 1, 2014, the definition of Dependent Child will be changing significantly and this will likely affect many potential applicants seeking permanent residence in Canada.

Currently, a biological or adopted child is considered a Dependent Child if he or she meets the following criteria at the time that the parents’ permanent residence application is submitted:

  1. is less than 22 years old and unmarried and not in a common law relationship; or
  1. has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 22 or since becoming a spouse or common-law partner and has been a student
    • continuously enrolled in and attending a post-secondary institution that is accredited by the relevant government authority, and
    • actively pursuing a course of academic, professional or vocational training on a full-time basis, or
  1. is 22 years of age or older and has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 22 and is unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.

Section 2 of the Immigration & Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“).

 

On August 1, 2014, a biological or adopted child will only be considered a Dependent Child if, at the time that the parents’ permanent residence application is submitted, he or she:

  1. is less than 19 years old and is unmarried and not in a common law relationship; or
  1. is 19 years of age or older and has dependent 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.

Canada Gazette, Vol. 148, No. 13 – June 18, 2014

In addition to the lowering of the maximum age for Dependent Child status, a key change is the removal of the exemption for older children who have been studying full time at a post-secondary institution.  This marks yet another significant change in a slew of changes to Canada’s laws affecting foreign nationals in Canada this year.

Transitional provisions will be included with the changes to the regulations.  Generally speaking, a person 19 years old or older may be considered a Dependent Child according to the current definition if:

  1. his or her parent submits a complete permanent residence application before August 1, 2014; or
  1. for provincial nominee (PNP) applicants, his or her parent submits a complete PNP application before August 1, 2014 and a nomination certificate is eventually issued.

Ultimately, this change highlights the need for permanent residence applicants to submit their applications before August 1, 2014 if they want to be able to include their children who are 19 years of age or older as Dependent Children.