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Aline Nguyen

Earlier this year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that it will raise the maximum age of a dependent child who may be included on an application to immigrate to Canada through economic, family, and refugee/humanitarian programs. Starting October 24, 2017, principal applicants may include their children aged 21 and under, who are not married or in a common-law relationship, on their immigration application.

Under the current law, only children under 19 years of age may be included on an application to immigrate to Canada. The change represents a return to the previous definition of a dependent child that was in place prior to August 2014.

Children aged 22 and older who have depended substantially on the financial support of their parent(s) since before the age of 22, and who are unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition, may also be considered dependent.

The age limit change will not be applied retroactively to applications submitted on or after August 1, 2014, and before October 24, 2017.

This change is intended to reflect a growing trend of children remaining financially and emotionally dependent on their parents for longer while pursuing higher education, or beginning their careers.

Though dependent children aged 19 and over represents a small percentage of applications approved, it has a big impact on families.  This change will significantly improve the immigration and settlement process for many newcomers to Canada.

Parent and Grand Parent Program

In September of this year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) began inviting more sponsors of foreign parents and grandparents to submit applications under the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP). This was the second round to take place in 2017 after the first round in April. Potential sponsors who were not invited to apply in the first round, had a second chance. The second invitation round was restricted to potential sponsors who had already submitted an Expression of Interest through the PGP ‘Interest to Sponsor’ form in early 2017, but who had not yet been invited to apply. Invited sponsors will have to submit their application by December 8, 2017 in order for it to be accepted.  Those invited in the first round, but who did not submit an application by the August 4 deadline, were not invited in the second round.

The Government of Canada has set a target of 20,000 new permanent residents under the PGP this year, planning on bringing to a completion some of the applications remaining in a backlog, while also inviting new applications.

In April, 10,000 potential applicants were chosen at random from the pool of registrants. However, IRCC did not receive 10,000 complete applications after the 90-day deadline to apply elapsed. Therefore, and in order to achieve its annual target, IRCC conducted the 2nd round of invitations in September.

IRCC confirmed that the PGP ‘Interest to Sponsor’ pool will reopen for registration in early 2018, allowing more individuals to sponsor their parent(s) or grandparent(s) to Canada as permanent residents.

Criteria for sponsoring under the Parent and Grand Parent Program (PGP)

Under the current criteria, PGP sponsors must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • Be 18 years of age or older;
  • Meet the minimum necessary income levelby submitting notices of assessment issued by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) in support of their sponsorship. Sponsors must also demonstrate they have met the minimum necessary income level for three consecutive years (the requirements for sponsors residing in the province of Quebec are slightly different). If married or in a common-law relationship, the income of both persons may be included; and
  • The sponsor must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits him or her to provide financial support for the sponsored person(s).

At this time, it remains unknown whether these criteria will remain the same for the 2018 version of the PGP.

Super Visa

Another option for bringing parents and grandparents to Canada while waiting for the sponsorship application process to be completed is by applying for a Super Visa. The Super Visa is a multiple-entry visa that allows parents and grandparents to enter Canada as long-term visitors. Super Visa holders may stay in Canada for up to two years on initial entry, and the visa is valid for up to 10 years.


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Aline Xuân Uyên
Aline xuân Uyên is an immigration specialist in Canadian immigration services with more than 12 years of experience in the field. She is a member of ICCRC (Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council) ID# R416447. Contact her at Apex Migration Services 416-679-8898.