By 2021, residents of Hong Kong will be able to apply for two new immigration pathways to study and work abroad in Canada. This week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada told CBC News that one of these routes would allow Canadian university graduates from Hong Kong to apply for permanent residency without experience at work. For Hong Kongers who graduate from any institution, Canada will also introduce a three-year work permit program that will facilitate their transition to permanent residency.
On June 30, 2020, the Chinese government imposed the Hong Kong national security law, a move opposed by most democratic nations, including Canada. IRCC records show that around 300,000 Canadians are living in Hong Kong, having long-established bilateral relations with the Southeast Asian nation. The grim domestic situation of the country has made immigration increasingly attractive to young Hong Kongers; as of September 30, IRCC received 1991, Hong Kong study permit applications, and this number is sure to increase as COVID-19 travel restrictions ease up globally.
New Immigration Pathways for Canada to Attract Hong Kongers
The latest immigration initiative from Canada is aimed at attracting young talent from Hong Kong. It builds on the Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-2023 and is in line with the reputation of the country as an asylum for those persecuted in their homelands.
Hong Kong activists and protesters may find refuge in Canada, which promotes the right to peaceful protest, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. “As the IRCC stated: “In Canada, taking part in peaceful protests is not considered an offence. Arrests and convictions outside Canada are not grounds for inadmissibility for actions not considered an offence in Canada.
Soon, any Hong Konger who has graduated from a recognized university in the past five years will be able to apply for up to three years to work in Canada. Also, if Hong Kong citizens in Canada meet a new set of minimum requirements, they will be able to apply for permanent residency. This involves requirements for language and education, as well as a minimum of one year’s work experience in Canada. Also, spouses or partners who have applied from within Canada for permanent residence may still apply for an open work permit.
There’s good news for international students, too. The Canadian government will speed up applications for study permits so that you can study sooner. Hong Kong residents who have to extend their stay in Canada will not be charged processing fees as a temporary measure.
“The number of clients seeking to move to other countries has increased by four to five times since social unrest erupted last year,” Ivan Mak, head of the Hong Kong unit at AIMS Immigration and Relocation Group told the South China Morning Post. Canada has opened a doorway to more opportunities for young Hong Kongers. They don’t have anything to lose.’