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Canada announces opening of 2 new pathways to permanent residence for Hong Kong residents

The ties that bind Canada and Hong Kong run deep. The first Hong Kongers arrived here over 150 years ago, and in the years since, Hong Kongers have made incredible contributions to this country.

At this difficult moment, Canada continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Hong Kong. We are deeply concerned about China’s imposition of the National Security Law and, more broadly, the deteriorating human rights situation in Hong Kong.

Against this backdrop, in November 2020, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced initiatives to help more Hong Kongers come to Canada. The first stream opened for applications in February 2021.

Minister Mendicino announced today that the other 2 streams are now open, offering a path to permanent residence for eligible Hong Kong residents in Canada who are workers or recent graduates. Eligible applicants must have valid temporary resident status and be in Canada both when they submit their application and when their permanent residence is granted. They must also meet the specified language, education, work and eligibility requirements, and they are subject to Canada’s regular immigration application and screening processes and admissibility requirements.

Full details are as follows:

  • Stream A – Applicants must have completed one of the following educational credentials at a post-secondary designated learning institution in Canada in the last 3 years, and they must have done at least 50% of their program of study (in person or online) while in Canada:
    • degree (bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate)
    • diploma from a program that is at least 2 years in length
    • graduate or post-graduate credential (for a diploma or certificate) from a program that is at least 1 year in length; in addition, the program must require a post-secondary degree or diploma, which must have been earned no more than 5 years before starting the graduate or post-graduate program
  • Stream B – Applicants must have at least 1 year of full-time work experience (or the part-time equivalent, that is, at least 1,560 hours in total) in Canada in the last 3 years; they must also have completed one of the following at a post-secondary learning institution in or outside Canada in the last 5 years:
    • degree (bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate)
    • diploma from a program that is at least 2 years in length
    • graduate or post-graduate credential (for a diploma or certificate) from a program that is at least 1 year in length; in addition, the program must require a post-secondary degree or diploma, which must have been earned no more than 5 years before starting the graduate or post-graduate program

“With young Hong Kongers casting their eyes abroad, we want them to choose Canada. Our Hong Kong immigration pathway is a historic initiative, intended to attract talented applicants who will drive our economy forward. Skilled Hong Kongers will have a unique opportunity to both develop their careers and help accelerate our recovery. This landmark initiative will strengthen our economy and deepen the strong ties between Canada and the people of Hong Kong.”

—The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada and the international community expressed their grave concern when the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China passed the National Security Law for Hong Kong on June 30, 2020.
  • The Government of Canada has also made statements concerning the arrests of pro-democracy activists and the deterioration of the electoral system in Hong Kong. Canada continues to support the people of Hong Kong and to stand up for democracy and human rights.
  • On February 8, 2021, IRCC launched a new 3‑year open work permit that allows eligible Hong Kong residents to gain valuable work experience in Canada and apply for permanent residence more quickly.
  • On May 17, 2021, Minister Mendicino expanded the education requirements for the new 3‑year open work permit to include applicants who have completed, within the last 5 years, a graduate or post-graduate educational credential (diploma or certificate) for a program that is at least 1 year in length. The graduate or post-graduate program must include the prerequisite of a post-secondary diploma or degree, which the applicant must have completed no more than 5 years before starting the graduate or post-graduate program.
  • The 2 additional pathways to permanent residence under this public policy are available to eligible Hong Kong residents who hold a valid passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China or by the United Kingdom to a British National (Overseas) from Hong Kong.
  • Applicants should carefully read the instructions on how to apply, pay their application fees online and submit their completed application through Canada Post’s epost Connect service.
  • To be granted permanent residence, applicants must intend to live in any Canadian province or territory other than Quebec. Hong Kong residents who are living in Quebec can consult the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration to learn more about immigration pathways available to them in that province.
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