Effective now, immigrant children under the age of 22 can stay with their families when they come to Canada.
The announcement was made at the Langley Community Services Society on behalf of the federal immigration minister by Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag on Friday.
The change, which took effect on Oct. 24, rescinds a 2014 decision by the previous Conservative government to roll back the maximum age from “under 22” to “under 19.”
In some cases, immigrant families said the lowering of the age limit meant they were being forced to leave teenage children behind.
The Aldag announcement said the change will help more immigrant families to stay together.
“When newcomer families are able to stay together, their integration into Canada and their ability to work and contribute to their communities all improve,” the news release said.
It included a statement by Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussein who said keeping immigrant families together benefits the country as a whole.
“This will bring economic and social gains to our country as it enhances our attractiveness as a destination of choice for immigrants and refugees,” Hussein said.
The higher age will apply to new applications for all immigration programs under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, including refugees.
Family members who are 22 years of age or older and who rely on their parents due to a physical or mental health condition will continue to be considered dependent children.
The change will not be applied retroactively to applications submitted during the period of time the age was lowered, because, the government has said, “applying the change to in-process applications would require a pause in finalizing many permanent residence applications and would impact processing times in many programs.”
When the change was announced in May, the government news release said it was consistent with the global socioeconomic trend for children to stay home longer, including to pursue their post-secondary education.
“The change would allow older immigrant children, aged 19 to 21, to study in Canada thereby boosting the pool of applicants from which Canadian post-secondary schools can draw talented students. Upon graduation, these individuals would be equipped with a Canadian education and be able to contribute to Canada’s economy.”