While it is still officially summer in Canada, there is a fall breeze in the air. Children are heading back to school and Canadian immigration lawyers are planning for the new season ahead. Here are some Canadian immigration law updates to look forward to as the weather turns colder in Canada:
Change to age of dependants
On October 24, 2017, there will be an important change to the definition of "dependant child" for immigration purposes. Right now, only children less than 19 years old may be included in their parents' immigration applications. But soon the age of dependants will be raised to include children under 22 years old. This is great news for families with university-age children. This policy change reflects a global trend in which many children are not fully independent from their parents until they complete their post-secondary studies. Also, to quote Ahmed Hussen, Canada's Minister of Immigration, “Raising the age of dependants lets more families stay together."
Changes to Citizenship Act
Some much-anticipated changes to Canada's Citizenship Act are expected to come into effect this fall. Here are some of the important changes:
- Requirement for physical presence in Canada will be reduced to three out of five years.
- Some days spent in Canada as a temporary resident (before becoming a permanent resident) will count towards the residency requirement for citizenship.
- Language and knowledge requirements will be eliminated for minors and persons over age 55.
No official date has been set for the coming into force of these amendments. However, Canadian permanent residents who wish to apply for citizenship under these new legal provisions may start preparing their citizenship applications now in order to be ready when the new law comes into force.
Continued opportunities for economic immigration
For the rest of 2017, applicants may continue to be invited to apply for Canadian immigration under the federal government's Express Entry program. The Canadian government aims to welcome approximately 77,000 new immigrants to Canada in 2017 through Express Entry (and other programs). So far, about 63,000 applicants have been invited to apply for immigration through Express Entry draws.
In Quebec, the Regular Skilled Worker program is expected to open sometime before March 31, 2018. The Quebec government has announced that it is working through its backlog of paper applications. In fact, this backlog has been cleared for applicants from North America, Latin America and Europe. This means that the Quebec government may soon be ready to accept new applications for processing.
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