Rule Changes for Immigrant and Refugee Children Unfair and Unnecessary

By Andy Semotiuk | July 28, 2014

Toronto immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk
US and Canadian Immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk: It seems like not a week goes by without some rule changes in Canadian immigration. The Toronto Star reminds us that more changes are headed our way fast:

While much of the country is enjoying the summer, the federal government is quietly amending its immigration and refugee protection regulations. With only $62,000 set aside for both implementation and communications, it’s clear that they’re not wanting much public attention.

And no wonder.

As of Aug. 1, Canada is tightening the rules on which immigrant and refugee children are eligible to come to Canada with their parents. Until that date, unmarried dependants aged 21 and under could be included in their parents’ immigration or refugee applications. Exceptions were made for full-time students over 21 who were financially dependent on their parents. Under the new regulations, the cut-off age is 18 and under, with no exceptions for students.

This is an unfortunate change in the law, and I don’t see any appreciable reason for it. The change creates little benefit for Canada, and puts immigrants at a significant disadvantage.

Was the most significant problem in Canadian immigration law that children were benefiting from being between the ages of 18 and 21?
I can perhaps understand the matter of children in full-time studies after age 21 being too unmanageable (as a parent, trust me; I can imagine it). From an immigration point of view, it could raise issues about an adult ‘child’ going for a PhD until the age of 30. But this decline in the age of sponsorship of about 1000 days makes no sense at all. Why would we want to impose this extra hardship on immigrant families with older children?


Andy Semotiuk is a Canadian and US immigration lawyer with immigration law firm Pace Immigration. You can learn more about Andy at My Work Visa.