New Open Work Permit for Hong Kong Residents
Posted on 04/02/2021
Back on November 12, 2020, the Minister of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship – Marco Mendocino – announced measures to assist and support Hong Kong residents who wished to come to Canada to settle and work and/or study. In so doing, he emphasized the historical ties between Canada and Hong Kong that have endured for many generations now, as well as Canada’s concern regarding the new security law that applies to Hong Kong.
Today on February 4, 2021 is an exciting follow up with more details to come on Monday, February 8th, 2021. This is a fast-developing story that you should check back on starting early next week. Here’s what we have so far:
- Hong Kong residents – starting Monday, February 8, 2021, will be able to apply for new open work permits that will be valid for up to 3 years. As explained below, these open work permits are for younger professionals who have graduated during the last 5 years.
- To be eligible you must have either:
- A Hong Kong SAR passport, OR
- A British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) passport. Please note that according to news reports the Chinese government has stated it is no longer accepting BN(O)) passports so how this affects Hong Kong residents trying to travel to Canada under this new policy is unclear at this point. Canada (along with the UK of course) accepts these passports.
You must also:
- Have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary program of a minimum 2-year duration with a diploma or degree during the last 5 years or hold an equivalent foreign educational credential.
- If you received a final negative decision from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada or the Federal Court after the date of November 13, 2019, or you have received a final negative decision from IRCC:
- You may be eligible to apply for what is called a Pre-removal Risk Assessment (PRRA), given the worsening conditions in Hong Kong which may allow a further assessment of the risk involved in a removal order that would send you back to Hong Kong.
- PLEASE NOTE: as of February 4, 2021, the IRCC has extended the dates for which you may be eligible for a PRRA. If you are under threat of a removal order, you should contact immigration authorities to see if you now qualify for a PRRA, even if perhaps you didn’t when this was first announced in November of 2020.
- If you had to leave Hong Kong and go to another country due to risk of persecution, you may also be eligible for this open work permit, but you should also consider trying to apply under the following types of programs:
- Private-Sponsorship of Refugees programs, OR
- Government-Assisted Refugees programs.
- Later this year (2021) the Canadian Government will put in place 2 other pathways to permanent residence for younger Hong Kong residents:
- Pathway 1: Younger Hong Kong residents with at least 1 year of work experience in Canada who also have the required educational and language levels will be eligible for this pathway.
- Pathway 2: Younger Hong Kong residents who have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution will be able to apply directly for permanent residence under this pathway.
- Eligible spouses or common-law partners as well as dependent children can also apply for study or work permits, under both these new pathways.
- Further details on these two pathways will be released in the coming weeks or months.
- If you are a temporary resident currently in Canada, you can apply online.
- If you are abroad, you must comply with Canada’s safety requirements which include travel restrictions due to COVD-19 rules that are currently in place, including self-quarantine when arriving in Canada and any required testing before you can board your flight to Canada.
- This means you may not be allowed to come to Canada at the present time unless you have a job offer or are eligible for a travel exemption.
Please check back early next week for more details on the new open work permit which you will be able to apply for starting Monday, February 8, 2021.
Here’s a quote from Minister Mendocino:
The launch of the Hong Kong immigration pathway is a historic initiative that will attract young, talented and experienced graduates who will help to drive Canada’s economy forward. With flexible open work permits and a fast-track to permanent residency, skilled Hong Kong residents will have a unique opportunity to develop their careers and help accelerate Canada’s economic recovery. This is a landmark immigration initiative that will strengthen our economy and will deepen the ties between Canada and the people of Hong Kong.