As of January 1, 2014, dependents of applicants under any immigration program – sponsorship, federal skilled worker, Canada Experience Class, and so forth – will be limited to 18 years of age. This is a drop of the age of dependents from 21 years of age.
The full-time student exception to dependent age limits will be gone. However, there is an exception for dependents who are over 18, but those who are financially dependent on their parents due to a physical or mental condition will still qualify regardless of age.
If a dependent has a common law partner or spouse, that individual will not be considered a dependent – this rule has not changed.
Why is this happening?
The government of Canada claims that according to its statistics, dependents aged 19 to 21 who have arrived in Canada over the years have not been particularly economically successful. They’ve found that the younger the dependent when they arrive in Canada, the better success they have here later in life. The reasoning is that these older individuals were not chosen based on their skills or other merits, and as a result, have a more difficult time adapting to Canadian economic life.
Also, it was found that with the student exceptions, some dependents were being admitted into their late-20’s and early 30’s. The government is aiming to admit people who have the highest chance of being successful and contributing to the economy, so they’ve limited the age of dependents to 18 to foster this goal.
What can we do now?
If you qualify for a program – and you have a child aged 19 to 21 – apply right now. The age of that child will be “locked-in” under the current rules and your child will be able to be part of your application to immigrate.
If you wait to apply until January 1, 2014, that child who is aged 19-21 will not be able to be a part of your application. He or she will have to qualify on his or her own merits.