The ties that bind Canada and Hong Kong run deep. The first Hong Kong residents arrived here over 150 years ago, contributing immensely to Canada’s economic, social and political life.
Canada continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Hong Kong, and is deeply concerned about the new National Security Law and the deteriorating human rights situation there. Against this backdrop, in November 2020, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced several new initiatives to help more Hong Kong residents come to Canada.
Today, Minister Mendicino announced that Hong Kong residents will be able to apply for new open work permits beginning on February 8, 2021. Valid for up to 3 years, these permits will allow Hong Kong residents to gain valuable employment experience and make significant contributions to Canada.
Hong Kong residents must have graduated with a Canadian post-secondary diploma or degree in the last 5 years, or hold an equivalent foreign credential. A post-secondary diploma program must be a minimum of 2 years.
Hong Kong residents currently in Canada temporarily, including visitors, students and workers, can apply online from within Canada. Those applying from abroad remain subject to current travel restrictions and may not be able to come to Canada at this time, unless they have a job offer or meet a travel exemption and comply with all public health requirements. More details will be available on the IRCC website on the launch date.
In addition to open work permits, the Government of Canada continues to implement 2 other pathways to permanent residence for young Hong Kong residents, which will be available later this year.
The first will be for Hong Kong residents with at least 1 year of work experience in Canada and who meet the language and education criteria. The second will be for Hong Kong residents who have graduated from a post-secondary institution in Canada; who can then apply directly for permanent residence. More information will be available in due course.
“The launch of the Hong Kong immigration pathway is a historic initiative that will attract young, talented and experienced graduates who will help to drive Canada’s economy forward. With flexible open work permits and a fast-track to permanent residency, skilled Hong Kong residents will have a unique opportunity to develop their careers and help accelerate Canada’s economic recovery. This is a landmark immigration initiative that will strengthen our economy and will deepen the 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
- On November 12, 2020, Minister Mendicino announced new immigration measures to support Hong Kong residents who wish to come to Canada to study, work and settle.
- Eligible spouses or common-law partners, as well as dependent children, can also apply for a study or work permit, as appropriate.
- These measures apply to Hong Kong residents who hold a Hong Kong special administrative region (SAR) or British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) passport.
- We have also implemented an exemption to the 12-month bar on a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) for Hong Kong residents—meaning that some individuals who were previously ineligible may now get another, updated assessment on whether they can stay in Canada.
- Hong Kong residents at risk of persecution who have fled to another country may also be eligible under Canada’s existing resettlement programs, including the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program and the Government-Assisted Refugees Program.