March 17, 2021
Canada Introduces Open Work Permit for Hong Kong Residents
Beginning in November 2020, the Canadian government introduced a number of measures to facilitate the movement to Canada of Hong Kong residents holding a Hong Kong Special Administrative Passport or British National (Overseas) passport. In a statement released on 4 February 2021, the Canadian government explained that these measures were introduced as a means of support for Hong Kong residents given the general “deteriorating human rights situation there”, including as a result of the passage of the National Security Laws. The Canadian government further recognized the long-standing history established between Canada and Hong Kong, stating:
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.
Measures taken to date in support of Hong Kong residents beginning in 2020 include: the expedited processing of permits for eligible “young people” who wish to travel to Canada to work or study, as well as of permanent resident applications (i.e. family sponsorship); the waiver of processing fees for status renewal applications from Hong Kong residents already within Canada; the promotion of super visas for parents and grandparents of Hong Kong residents in Canada; and an exemption to the 12 month bar for Hong Kong residents facing removal to facilitate access to the PRRA regime, allowing for an examination of the risk they may face in their country of origin. Further, IRCC clarified that it would not make determinations of inadmissibility against individuals engaged in protests in Hong Kong who then apply for migration to Canada under one of the noted avenues, stating:
Canada supports the right to peaceful protest, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Taking part in peaceful protests is not considered an offence in Canada. Arrests and convictions outside Canada for actions not considered an offence in Canada are not grounds for inadmissibility.
Most recently, in February 2021, IRCC announced that they would be launching a new open work permit available to Hong Kong residents in Canada who had graduated from a post-secondary education institution with either a degree or diploma during the last 5 years. Eligibility was also extended to residents holding an equivalent foreign credential, and/or the spouses, common law partners and dependent children of Hong Kong residents (as appropriate). IRCC further explained that these permits would be valid for 3 years, thereby allowing “Hong Kong residents to gain valuable employment experience and make significant contributions to Canada”.
Additionally, IRCC announced that two separate pathways to permanent residence would be implemented in late 2021 to facilitate the permanent settlement of Hong Kong residents – one for Hong Kong residents in Canada with 1 year of authorized work experience and one for graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions.
If you are a Hong Kong resident and you wish to apply under any of the above categories for temporary or permanent residence in Canada, please contact our office today!