Last Updated on décembre 16, 2016
October 28, 2016 – Canada’s federal government is proposing to raise the age limit of a dependent child from 18 to 21 as one of two key changes to immigration regulations aimed at facilitating family reunification.
The second change would abolish the need for some spouses or partners in a new relationship to live with their sponsor for two years as a condition of their permanent residence.
The draft changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations were issued on Monday, October 28 and opened to a 30-day comment and consultation period.
Change 1: Raise Age of Dependent Child from 18 to 21
The previous Conservative government lowered the age from 21 to 18 in August 2014, saying the move was designed to help better align immigration policies with Canada’s labour market needs.
However, the new Liberal government wants to make good on its election promise to prioritise family reunification through immigration.
It says children are spending much longer living at home and play increasingly important family roles when they do so.
Age Dependency Statistics
- In 2009–2010, while 77 per cent of the population in Canada aged under 24 completed high school between age 18 and 19, some 13 per cent completed high school between age 20 and 24.
- The 2011 Census found that over half of all young adults from 20 to 24 years of age lived with their parents (63.3 per cent of young men and 55.2 per cent of young women). This proportion has increased in recent decades, particularly for young women, rising from 33 per cent in 1981 to 55.2 per cent in 2011.
- The median age for a young adult to complete a degree is 24.8.
“Restoring the age would mean more families being able to stay together, helping to make Canada a destination of choice for immigrants,” a government statement said.
“When immigrant families are able to stay together, their integration into Canada and their ability to work and contribute to their communities all improve.
“The proposed change reflects the global trend of children living at home for longer periods, particularly those pursuing their studies.
“In general, older children are a benefit to their family, as well as society as a whole, as they often help care for younger siblings, which helps free up parents to work more. They may also work and contribute economically to their families and society.”
Change 2: Abolish Conditional Permanent Residence for New Relationships
The current Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations demand that certain sponsored spouses or partners in relatively new relationships must live with their sponsor for at least two years as a condition of their permanent residence.
This condition is placed on a sponsored spouse or partner who is in a relationship of two years or less with their partner and have no children in common at the time of their application. It was imposed on October 25, 2012.
The rule is designed to protect against spouses fraudulently pursing their way into Canada using fake marriages, but the government says there is no proof as to whether it has worked.
The statistics do show that several spouses with conditional permanent residence have suffered abuse or neglect.
Under the proposed changes, this requirement would be abolished, leaving sponsored spouse and partners to live as they please.
A government statement says: “The proposal supports the government’s commitment to gender equality and combatting gender violence by addressing concerns that conditional permanent residence may result in vulnerable spouses staying in abusive relationships.”
The government does, however, acknowledge it is opening a potential avenue for abusing the system.
A further statement says: “It is important to acknowledge that, in repealing conditional permanent residence, it is possible that some foreign nationals who may be currently deterred from misleading Canadians into fraudulent marriages would attempt to use the family reunification program to seek entry to Canada with non-genuine intentions.
“It is possible that some of these applications may be approved, which could lead to significant emotional stress and potential financial liability for affected sponsors.
“However, the proposed repeal of conditional permanent residence recognizes that the majority of relationships are genuine, and the majority of applications are made in good faith.”
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