Canada to raise age for dependants allowed into country


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University-age children of immigrants will soon be allowed to join their parents in Canada.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/05/2017 (2218 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

University-age children of immigrants will soon be allowed to join their parents in Canada.

The federal government said Thursday it is raising the allowable age for dependants to those under 22 from those under 19.

The new age limit takes effect Oct. 24, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced Wednesday. The increased age will apply to new applications for all immigration programs, including for refugees. Increasing the maximum age of a dependant child will allow more families to stay together, the department said, and “showcases the government’s commitment to family reunification.”

The announcement was no surprise, said refugee advocate Tom Denton. For decades, he has watched different governments open and close Canada’s immigration gates. Raising the age of allowable dependents reverses a 2014 decision by the Conservative government under Stephen Harper that lowered the age of allowable dependants to those under 19.

“It simply reflects a return to the policy of many years and through many wiser governments of the past,” said Denton, executive director of Hospitality House Refugee Ministry. “The Harper government had a strong elitist streak that showed also in its approach to making citizenship harder to get. But then and now, we know that immigration is necessary for demographic reasons,” he said, citing the latest Statistics Canada numbers that show Canada now more seniors than children. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government could do more if it wants Canada to thrive, Denton said.

“While the return to the older age ceiling for children is welcome for immigrating families, it is still a far cry from allowing family immigration as we used to have it 25 years ago,” he said. “The immigration premise remains short-sighted and skewed to short-term economic goals rather than to nation-building ones.”

“It is not the arriving generation that needs to be examined every which way — it is the progeny forming the next generation after that, and the succeeding generations.”

The federal government says the higher age limit announced this week is consistent with the global socioeconomic trend for children to stay home longer, including to pursue post-secondary education.

“The increased age will allow older immigrant children, aged 19 to 21, to study in Canada and boost the pool of post-secondary students for Canadian universities and colleges, as well as the pool of employees once these individuals graduate with a Canadian education, and contribute to Canada’s economy,” the government in a news release.

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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