February 19, 2021
IRCC Rolls Out New Public Policy for Hong Kong Residents to Work in Canada
Back in November, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) had announced that a series of new measures would be put in place in 2021 to make it easier for Hong Kong students and youth to work, study, and live permanently in Canada, in light of the deteriorating political and security conditions in Hong Kong. Among the more substantive measures are a new three-year open work permit specific to Hong Kong youth, and two new pathways to permanent residence, one targeting former Hong Kong residents who have gained Canadian work experience, and for those who have graduated from a post-secondary institution in Canada. While the details for the permanent residence pathways are yet to be announced, on 8 February 2021, IRCC started receiving applications under the open work permit program.
To be eligible for an open work permit under the temporary public policy for Hong Kong residents, applicants must:
- hold a valid passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) or the United Kingdom to a British National Overseas (BNO); and
- have obtained a degree (e.g. bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD) or a diploma for a minimum 2-year program from a designated post-secondary learning institution in Canada or abroad in the past five years.
The maximum duration for the work permit is three years, or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first. Applicants educated abroad must have their credentials assessed by a designated organization to determine the equivalent level of education in Canada. Spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children of qualifying applicants may also apply for a study or work permit, as appropriate.
One note of caution: while a job offer is not needed to qualify for a work permit under this policy, given the coronavirus pandemic, approved applicants might not be able to travel to Canada at this time. Due to current restrictions, to travel to Canada, temporary workers must have a valid job offer, have a letter of introduction, and be able to work upon completing the 14-day quarantine period.