On June 8, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino unveiled two new immigration streams, which offer a path to permanent residence for eligible Hongkongers in Canada who are workers or recent graduates.
The programs are now open to applications. Mendicino had originally announced the measures in November 2020, and launched work permit options this past February. The initiative to facilitate immigration for Hongkongers is a response to China’s imposition of the National Security Law, which led to a clampdown on freedom of expression. The Canadian government has denounced the arrests of pro-democracy activists and the deterioration of the electoral system in Hong Kong.
Eligible candidates must have valid temporary resident status in Canada at the time they submit their application and when their permanent residency status is granted. They must also meet the specified language, education, work and eligibility requirements, and they are subject to Canada’s regular immigration application and screening processes and admissibility requirements. To confirm their Hong Kong residency, they need to hold a valid passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China or by the United Kingdom to a British National (Overseas) from Hong Kong.
To be eligible for Stream A of the new programs, applicants need a post-secondary credential from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution, completed in the last three years. They must have done at least half of their program in Canada, either in person or online. Eligible diploma programs must be at least two years in length. Graduate or post-graduate credentials must be at least one year in length, with the previous credential earned no more than five years before the start of the program.
Stream B is for applicants who have at least one year of full-time work experience, or 1,560 hours of part time work experience in Canada within the past three years. They also need an eligible post-secondary credential completed within the last five years. Eligible post-secondary programs are the same as Stream A, except that they do not necessarily need to have been completed in Canada.
To be granted permanent residence, applicants must intend to live in any Canadian province or territory other than Quebec. This is because Canada does not have jurisdiction to impose permanent residency pathways in Quebec. Hong Kong residents who are living in Quebec can consult the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) to learn more about immigration pathways available to them.
“With young Hong Kongers casting their eyes abroad, we want them to choose Canada,” Mendicino said in a media release. “Our Hong Kong immigration pathway is a historic initiative, intended to attract talented applicants who will drive our economy forward. Skilled Hong Kongers will have a unique opportunity to both develop their careers and help accelerate our recovery. This landmark initiative will strengthen our economy and deepen the strong ties between Canada and the people of Hong Kong.”
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