Ottawa: Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, this week announced a new immigration initiative that will attract students and youth from Hong Kong to Canada by offering a new open work permit and broadening their pathways to permanent residency.
This initiative builds on the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan and is designed to encourage recent Hong Kong graduates and those with essential work experience to choose Canada as a place to study, work, and settle.
This announcement also supports the commitments made by Canada to maintain the many connections between Canada and Hong Kong in response to the Chinese government’s imposition and implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020.
The minister also reassured Canadians and Canadian permanent residents in Hong Kong that they can return to Canada at any time, and any documents they require will be expedited.
Family members in Hong Kong of Canadians and Canadian permanent residents may also travel to Canada under the current exemptions to travel restrictions, though all travelers to Canada must quarantine for 14 days upon the arrival.
Eligible Hong Kong residents in Canada or abroad with recently completed post-secondary studies can apply for an open work permit, which may be valid for up to 3 years.
Obtaining an open work permit will allow Hong Kong residents, particularly young people,
to come to or stay in Canada and gain valuable employment experience. This new pathway will be available in 2021, and criteria will include minimum language and education levels and 1 year of work experience in Canada.
The government will also expedite study permit applications for those who want to study in Canada. There has already been an increase in applications for study permits from Hong Kong residents in 2020.
Minister Mendicino announced that, once their studies are completed, these students will have a new dedicated pathway to permanent residence.
Canada is also introducing new measures to expedite documents for Canadians and Canadian permanent residents in Hong Kong, to speed up the processing of permanent residence applications, including family sponsorship, which will benefit Hong Kong residents, and to encourage Hong Kong youth to study or work in Canada.