Canada have set new immigration rules which will take effect from January 1.
When the new rule comes to effect, children who are 19 or older will have to make separate and independent applications.
The new rules will also make it more difficult for older children who plan to study full time to move to Canada.
Officials in Ottawa say the new rule changes will cut an estimated 7,000 applicants from moving to Canada.
At the centre of the rule changes is a new definition of the phrase “dependant child”. At present, those under 22 are considered to be dependant children and qualify to automatically move with parents if the parents’ application for permanent residency is granted.
Under the new rules, those past their 19th birthday will have to make a separate application — opening a new immigration application file with permanent residency being granted or denied on the merits of the application. With education and work experience being a critical part of the points test for permission to emigrate, the new rule will make it virtually impossible for those new files to be approved — at last until third-level education and work experience build up the needed points.
“These rule changes are going to make it a lot harder for parents who have older children to move here,” Dev Patel, an immigration consultant and paralegal based in Mississauga, Ontario, said.
The rule changes were detailed in a seven-page report post on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site.
“The earlier in life immigrants arrive, the more their educational experience will resemble that of their Canadian-born counterparts and the easier it will be to learn an official language and adapt to Canadian cultural traits and social norms,” a says.
Under the current immigration rules, a child is considered a dependant if they are under 22 and single, but there are exceptions if the person is over 22 and still rely on direct financial support from their parents or legal guardian — and are full-time students.
According to the latest statistics from Ottawa, 64,757 of all sponsored children to Canada were under 19 in 2012 — making up nearly 90 per cent of the total. There were 7,237 applicants as dependant children over 19 in the same year.
Part of the reasoning given in the briefing paper outlining the rule changes says that Canada’s economy remains fragile and needs to be protected.
Age at emigration frequently determines where a person receives his or her education. With the difficulties in determining a foreign credential’s value in Canada and evidence that the return on Canadian education is much higher, the report says. “I think the lesson for all now is that it is becoming harder and harder to immigrate to Canada,” Patel said. “This government has brought in new criteria, raised fees, changed rules and is generally making it more difficult to move to Canada. The reality is that Canada needs new immigrants to continue to grow.”
The dependant children’s age cut-offs in the United States is 21 and, in Australia, 25.