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Canada Announces Special Immigration Measures for Hong Kong Residents and Canadians in Hong Kong

by | Feb 8, 2021 | Greater China Practice, Immigration & Global Mobility Practice

Canada has announced special immigration measures for residents of Hong Kong and Canadians residents in Hong Kong, as a result of the passing of China’s restrictive national security law for Hong Kong, in the summer of 2020.

Hong Kong has one of the largest Canadian expat communities, with an estimated 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong. The large expat community and the substantial number of Canadians of Hong Kong descent in Canada, has led to strong relations between Canada and Hong Kong.

In a press release, the Honorable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”), said “[t]he people-to-people ties between Canada and Hong Kong are strong and deep, and these new measures celebrate those long-standing relationships. Newcomers from Hong Kong, including students, have made outstanding contributions to Canada, and the changes we’re announcing today will strengthen our relationship with the people of Hong Kong and bring us closer together.”

The new immigration initiative announced by IRCC aims to attract students and youth from Hong Kong to Canada by offering a new open work permit program and broadening their pathways to permanent residency. The new program will allow eligible Hong Kong residents in Canada or abroad who have completed post-secondary studies within the past five years to apply for an open work permit, which will allow them to work for any Canadian employer, for up to 3 years. Typically, obtaining a work permit, especially an open work permit, to Canada can be an exceedingly complicated process for applicants from most countries.

This temporary open work permit will be followed by a pathway to permanent residence, which will become available this year. Eligible applicants will be able to apply for permanent residence under the special program using the Canadian work experience they obtain through their open work permit. Applicants must continue to satisfy educational and language requirements as with other permanent residence programs.

The IRCC will also expedite study permit applications for Hong Kong residents who want to study in Canada. Upon completion of their studies these applicants will be eligible to apply for permanent residence under a specially dedicated program.

Under the special initiative, IRCC is also waiving application processing fees for Hong Kong residents in Canada on a temporary basis, who need to apply to renew their status in order to extend their stay in Canada.

Priority processing is one of the special measures available for residents of Hong Kong. The following applications will receive priority processing:

  • Canadian passport
  • Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD)
  • Visitor visa
  • Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)
  • Work permit
  • Study permit
  • Family sponsorship

These special initiatives make this the perfect time for Hong Kong residents, especially youth looking for work experience and political stability, to move to Canada, while sustaining strong ties to Hong Kong.

Everyone entering Canada must continue to abide by the Covid-19 travel guidelines, including a 14-day quarantine plan and negative Covid-19 tests.

If you are Hong Kong resident and would like more information about working, studying or moving to Canada, contact us at [email protected], to discuss the best options for you.