The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has announced today, November 12, 2020, increased measures to directly support and encourage Hong Kong residents to resettle in Canada as students, workers, and permanent residents. Immigration is a key driver in Canada’s economic growth and the global COVID-19 pandemic has affected Canada’s immigration targets. IRCC is enacting policies to achieve those targets and goals of supporting the growth of the Canadian economy with immigration while in tandem offering support and relief for residents of Hong Kong where democracy is under threat by the actions of the Chinese government including the imposition of the National Security Law on June 30th 2020.
Expedited work and study permit applications for Hong Kong. This means, if you have a valid LMIA and require a work permit, it will be processed faster. If you have an LMIA-exempt job offer, your work permit will be processed faster. If you have been admitted to a post-secondary institution in Canada and are applying for a study permit, your study permit application will be expedited.
Expedited document processing for Canadians and Permanent Residents living in Hong Kong. This will assist Canadians and Permanent Residents in returning to Canada at any time if they need to. There are over 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong, one of the largest expat communities of Canadians in the world.
Coming Soon: Open Work Permit for HK Youth
This is expected to launch soon and will allow for residents of Hong Kong to apply for a 3-year open work permit if they have graduated within the last 5 years from a post-secondary institution. We anticipate that graduates from Canadian post-secondary institutions residing in Hong Kong may receive preference and we also speculate that IRCC will announce a cut off age for eligibility to favour youth in Hong Kong.
The open work permit will allow Hong Kong residents to arrive in Canada and work for any employer. In doing so, they can gain valuable Canadian work experience and contribute to the growth of the Canadian economy. As with all work permits, accompanying spouses and dependent children can apply for study and work permits as appropriate.
Coming in 2021: Permanent Residence Pathways to target specific Hong Kongers
Former Hong Kong Residents who have worked in Canada for at 1 year will have a pathway to Permanent Residency.
Graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions who are Hong Kong residents will have a pathway to Permanent Residency.
The specific details of these Permanent Residency pathways have not been released.
What this means for Hong Kong residents?
If you are a resident of Hong Kong, the process to come to Canada now and permanently resettle in Canada even in the circumstances of COVID-19 has been expedited. If you are a worker, now is the time to obtain a job offer and LMIA in Canada as you will receive expedited work permit processing. After gaining 1 year of Canadian work experience there will be a pathway to Permanent Residency in Canada. If you are a student, or of that age category, you are now encouraged to apply to study in Canada as soon as possible. You will have a pathway to permanent resettlement and residency in Canada once you have graduated.
Canada Immigration and Visa Services is on standby and available to assist Hong Kong residents in resettling to Canada now. Both work and study are considered essential travel to Canada, and Canada welcomes Hong Kongers. Canada supports the right to peaceful protests, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Arrests and convictions outside of Canada for participating in peaceful protests in opposition to tyrannical governments will not deem you inadmissible to Canada.
Additional Measures Being Implemented
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada is taking further measures to support Hong Kong:
- Waiving application fees for Hong Kong residents in Canada on a temporary basis.
- Increasing promotion and recruitment efforts to attract Hong Kong youth to study in Canada
- Increasing promotion of super visas to allow parents and grandparents to visit Canada
- Faster processing of permanent residency applications
- Hong Kongers at risk of persecution if returning to Hong Kong continue to have access to seek asylum in Canada
- There is now an exemption to the 12 month bar on the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment for Hong Kongers seeking asylum.
For more information on how to obtain permanent residency in Canada, contact us and visit our dedicated Hong Kong page.
Steve Paolasini, Senior National Vice-President, B. Eng