Canada opening more immigration pathways to Hong Kong residents
Canada has announced the creation of several immigration pathways designed specifically for Hongkongers, in response to the serious immigration shortfall that COVID-19 caused in 2020.
Hong Kong residents are often fluent in English and highly-educated. These factors make them well-suited to qualify for immigration to Canada.
As of February 8, Canada launched an open work permit, which allows Hong Kong youth to work for any employer in Canada. This program allows eligible Hongkongers to remain in Canada for an extensive period of time while earning a living and gaining Canadian work experience, which will boost participants’ chances of receiving invitations for permanent residence to Canada.
For the sake of brevity, here are the two main eligibility criteria for the new work permit:
- they need a passport that is valid and issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) or the United Kingdom to a British National Overseas (BNO); and
- they must have graduated within the last five years with a university degree or a diploma from a two-year program.
Hongkongers who are currently physically present in Canada can now apply online for the open work permit. They do not have to leave Canada to apply. Those who are outside Canada can also apply, but their arrival may be delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 related-restrictions.
Canada has also announced a program to grant permanent residency to qualifying Hongkongers. The coming months should see Canada release further detailed requirements for education, language, and work experience.
As you may know, Canada and her provinces already have many immigration pathways for people who want to come to Canada as international students. The federal government has recently made clear its intent to establish a special immigration pathway for Hongkongers who graduate from a post-secondary institution in Canada.
In addition to these exciting new programs, Canada has also announced it will allocate resources to speed up processing of applications for permanent residence for Hongkongers. Moreover, the federal government is also temporarily waiving processing fees for Hongkongers who want to extend their stay in the country. Canada has also committed to take measures to attract and retain post-secondary students from Hong Kong.
Canada and Hong Kong have deep-rooted historical ties. There are several hundred thousand Canadians who were born in Hong Kong, and hundreds of thousands more who have roots there. There are particularly strong communities in the Greater Vancouver and Toronto Metropolitan areas.
One famous Hong Kong-Canadian was Adrienne Clarkson who came to Canada as a child refugee during World War II. She had a prominent journalism career before assuming the prestigious role as Canada's 26th Governor General, which is the representative of the Queen in Canada.
With these new programs, Canada is showing the world how to effectively adapt immigration policy to rapidly changing situations. Canada’s policy of attracting and retaining Hong Kong talent is both compassionate and smart.
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