Canada Now Stricter on Immigrant and Refugee Children


Canada has toughened its stance on immigrant and refugee children, with changes that came into play on August 1st, 2014. It’s been described as a “quiet” move by the Canadian government, but these changes certainly have not gone unnoticed.

Canada Gets Tough on Immigrant and Refugee Children

In fact, the changes are very significant and will have a direct impact on the regulations for immigration and refugee protection. We’ll see tougher norms for immigrant and refugee youngsters and a cut-off age that has been reduced from 21 years, to just 18.

Unmarried Dependents

Those who qualify as unmarried dependents over the age of 18 will henceforth be ineligible for immigration along with their parents. This will cause problems for young people wishing to immigrate with their family.

Before the new ruling was introduced, unmarried dependents aged 21 and under were perfectly eligible to immigrate to Canada along with their parents, and could be included in immigration application forms.

Under the old laws, full-time students and financial dependents above the age of 21 could also move to Canada as immigrant and refugee children. This was as long as they were accompanied by their parents. Now these exceptions will no longer be made for any students or dependents over the age of 18.

New Priorities

According to the Canada immigration department CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada), these latest rulings and changes to the definition of a dependent child are “in tune with the new priorities of Canada’s immigration system aimed on the economic and labor force requirements of Canada.”

So, what influenced their decision? Well, these new rulings are based on the idea that the younger a child is when they immigrate to Canada, the more positive their contributions are to Canada’s labor market. Basically, it’s more about what these people can give back to society, rather than what Canada can offer a young person. Also note the financial return of Canada’s education is relatively higher than the financial return you’d get from foreign education.

Canada May Lose Out

Some surmise that Canada may “lose out” on highly educated immigrants, as well as foreigners who have gained a high level of qualifications and are above the cut-off age of 18.

The Canadian refugee system has also come under fire for its lack of humanitarianism and compassion on a large scale.

Contact us

Have you been affected by the new, stricter regulations for immigrant and refugee children?

For more information on immigration services, or to book a consultation, contact VisaPlace today. We’ll be happy to help.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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