Blog

Hong Kong
How to Apply for Open Work Permit for Hong Kong Residents

Posted on 21/02/2021

As we recently let you know, there’s a new Open Work Permit for Hong Kong Residents:

  • holding either a SAR (Special Administrative Region) passport or a British National (Overseas) passport and
  • who also have a post-secondary degree or a diploma that came from a program of at least 2 years in length.
  • The study program can be undertaken abroad as long as it is recognized by Canada and as long as it is an equivalent credential to a Canadian degree/diploma.

The Canadian government has finally released details on how to apply for this open work permit. Here is the process.

Canadian citizens or permanent residents residing in Hong Kong

  • Passport applications for Canadian citizens in Hong Kong will be prioritized
  • Canadian permanent residents in Hong Kong who require a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) will have their paper applications prioritized at IRCC Hong Kong. For more information, email IRCC Hong Kong at hkong@international.gc.ca

What are the eligibility requirements for the Open Work Permit?

As mentioned above, you must have a valid HKSAR or BNO passport.

  • You do not have to be currently residing in Hong Kong to be eligible. You can be living in Canada, the United States, or elsewhere abroad as long as you have a valid HKSAR or BNO passport.

Furthermore, the following people are also eligible:

  • Immediate and extended family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are living in Hong Kong, regardless of their nationality.
  • Immediate family members of Hong Kong residents who will be working or studying in Canada (i.e. who have study or work permits for Canada).
  • Both these groups will receive priority processing.

The Open Work Permit will be issued for a period of 3 years from the date of approval OR until your passport expires, whichever is LESS.

  • If possible, renew your HKSAR or BNO passport before applying for this new open work permit to ensure you get the full 3 years.

Your post-secondary education must:

  • Have been granted (that is, you graduated) within 5 years of applying
  • Be a degree (3 or more years) from a post-secondary DLI in Canada or a post-secondary school abroad OR
  • Be at least a 2-year diploma from a post-secondary DLI in Canada or a post-secondary school abroad. If done abroad – accompanied by an ECA (Educational Credential Assessment) from one of a list of approved Canadian organizations that evaluate your foreign degree/diploma. Go here for more information on how to obtain an ECA for your overseas degree. You must pay for the cost of your ECA.

The following are the designated organizations that are authorized to provide you with your ECA.

International Experience Canada (ICE) candidates from Hong Kong

  • You will need the following to enter Canada:
    • A valid port of entry Letter of Introduction (LOI)
    • A valid job offer with a written note from your Canadian employer that states that their business is operational and that you will start to work after your 14-day quarantine
    • Proof of healthcare coverage
  • If your application is in progress and you have not been able to complete it during the required time for reasons like being able to gather all your documents, provide biometrics or undergo a medical exam, it will not be closed or refused.

You must apply online. The steps are somewhat different if you apply from outside or from within Canada.

How to Apply from Outside Canada

Although the requirement is to apply online – IRCC is also stating that if you do apply by paper, please mark your envelope Urgent – Hong Kong priority to ensure faster processing.

Biometrics

  • Go here to see if you need to give biometrics. Most people in most countries will have to give biometrics. If however you’ve given biometrics in the past you may not have to give them again (currently, biometrics are valid for 10 years). Go here to see if your biometrics are still valid.
  • When you complete your application, you should pay your biometrics fee along with any other fees you have to pay.
  • After you apply you will receive a Biometrics Instruction Letter (BLI) which will tell you how to give biometrics.
  • You may also need a medical exam if you are applying from outside Canada. Go here for more information on medical exams.

Even if you are approved, COVID travel restrictions may mean you are not initially able to travel to Canada. Currently, to travel to Canada you must:

  • Have a Letter of Introduction for your open work permit
  • Have a Valid Job Offer
  • Be able to work after your 14-day quarantine period

Spouses and common-law partners of successful applicants can also apply for open work permits.

  • Their children can apply for study permits under existing study permit streams (post-secondary education) if they are minors. They can apply for open work permits if they are 18 years of age or older.
  • Studies at the K-12 (kindergarten through secondary school) will not require a study permit.

Step 1: To apply online you’ll need

  • A scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents
  • A valid debit (Canadian) or Credit Card (Mastercard or Visa)

Step 2: Create your online account with IRCC or sign in

  • Go here and scroll down to the bottom. There are several options:
    • Option 1: GCKey Account holders – if you already have a GCKey Account with IRCC click the blue button in the first box to sign in and start the process of applying
    • Option 2: Sign-In Partner – if you have an online Canadian bank account you can use this to sign in and start the process. Click the blue button in the second box.
    • Option 3: Use the third box if you DON’T have an account with IRCC and click on the blue “Register” button to set up your account. Then you can use it to apply for the open work permit.
    • Option 4: go here and scroll down to How to Apply. Open the If you’re outside of Canada link and then scroll down and click the blue “Create an account or sign in” button if you are applying from Overseas.

Step 3: How to start your application

  • Sign in to your IRCC account and on the Welcome Page go to “Start your application”
  • Click “Apply to Come to Canada”
  • Scroll down to the next page to the “I don’t have a personal reference code” section
  • Click on the “Visitor visa, study and/or work permit” button
  • On the following page, select “Work”

Step 4: Get your document checklist

  • Answer a series of questions to allow IRCC to put together your personalized document checklist
  • Make sure you answer the following questions as indicated:
    • You would like to work temporarily?

Answer: Either Less than 6 months or More than 6 months

    • Will you be coming to Canada under an active public policy or special measure announced by IRCC?

Answer: Yes

    • When asked to select the type of work permit you want to apply for,

Select: A work permit under an active public policy or special measure announced by IRCC

  • Please Note: You will have 90 days to respond to a letter requesting for additional documents. If you are unable to comply within the 90 days, immigration officials have the leeway to give you an additional 90 days.

Step 5: Read the Guide

  • Your guide is called Guide 5487 Applying for a Work Permit Outside Canada
    • Go here to see the guide and download it or read it completely online.
    • It covers needed documents (which we explain below), how to fill in the application form, how to send the form online, as well as fees involved.

Step 6: Gather and upload the correct documents

  • Remember that you will be given a personalized document checklist after answering a series of questions at the beginning of the application process.
  • However, here’s a guide to your documents given the nature of this special work permit:
Required DocumentWhere to upload the file in your account
Copy of educational credential, transcript, or proof of enrollment at your post-secondary schoolProof that you meet the requirements of the job being offered
Copy of your HKSAR or BNO passport (include ALL pages)Passport
A copy of your work historyCV/resume
Digital photoDigital photo
IMM 5707 Family Information FormFamily information form (IMM 5707)

 

  • You may be asked to provide additional documents – depending on your personal situation – like a marriage certificate or a police certificate, for example
  • Scan and upload a paper with the words “Not Applicable” if you are asked for any of the following documents:
    • Employment Reference Letter
    • Letter from Current Employer
    • Employment Records
    • Employment Contract

If your application is approved, you will receive a Port Letter of Introduction saying you’re allowed to work in Canada.

  • This is NOT a work permit.
  • You should take your Port Letter of Introduction with you when you travel to Canada and at your Port of Entry (the airport you arrive in Canada at) you will then hand over your Letter and receive your Work Permit.
  • Your Work Permit will show the following:
    • The type of work you can do
    • The employer you can work for (unless it is an open work permit)
    • Where you can work
    • How long you can work

How to Apply from Inside Canada

To be eligible to apply from within Canada, the following must be true:

  • You must have valid status as a visitor, worker, or student
  • You must have applied to extend your status before it expired (if it has expired) meaning you have what is called “implied status”, OR
  • You must be eligible to restore your status (go here for more information on restoring your status)
  • For certain types of jobs, you may still need a medical exam.

Fee exemptions

  • For applications received from inside Canada, the open work permit fee is NOT required and will be refunded if paid.

Step 1: To apply online you’ll need

  • A scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents
  • A valid debit (Canadian) or Credit Card (Mastercard or Visa)

Step 2: Create your online account with IRCC or sign in

  • Go here and scroll down to the bottom. There are several options:
    • Option 1: GCKey Account holders – if you already have a GCKey Account with IRCC click the blue button in the first box to sign in and start the process of applying
    • Option 2: Sign-In Partner – if you have an online Canadian bank account you can use this to sign in and start the process. Click the blue button in the second box.
    • Option 3: Use the third box if you DON’T have an account with IRCC and click on the blue “Register” button to set up your account. Then you can use it to apply for the open work permit.
    • Option 4: go here and scroll down to How to Apply. Open the If you’re inside Canada link and scroll down and click the blue “Create an account or sign in” button if you are applying from Overseas.

Step 3: How to start your application

  • Sign in to your IRCC account and on the Welcome Page go to “Start your application”
  • Click “Apply to Come to Canada”
  • Scroll down to the next page to the “I don’t have a personal reference code” section
  • Click on the “Visitor visa, study and/or work permit” button
  • On the following page, select “Work”

Step 4: Get your document checklist

  • Answer a series of questions to allow IRCC to put together your personalized document checklist
  • Make sure you answer the following questions as indicated:
    • You would like to work temporarily?

Answer: Either Less than 6 months or More than 6 months

    • Does the following apply to you?
      • I am subject of a removal order that is unenforceable
      • I applied for a study or work permit before entering Canada which was approved, but not issued at a port of entry
      • I am in primary or secondary school, or a visiting or exchange student, in Canada with visitor status
      • I am applying for an open work permit under an active public policy or pilot program announced by IRCC
      • I am a student who has completed a program of study that is a prerequisite to my enrolment at a designated learning institution with visitor status in Canada
      • I applied for permanent residence and was found eligible (first stage approval) under one of the following classes:

Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada

Humanitarian and Compassionate cases

Protected Persons in Canada

Live-in Caregiver in Canada

Answer: “Yes” (the option highlighted above applies to you)

    • There are fees associated with this application. Will you be paying your fees or are you fee exempt?

Answer: “No, I am exempt from paying fees for the application.”

Step 5: Read the Guide

  • Your guide is called Guide 5553 Applying for a Work Permit Inside Canada – extend, change conditions, initial and open work permits – online application
    • Go here to see the guide and download it or read it completely online.
    • It covers needed documents (which we explain below), how to fill in the application form, how to send the form online, as well as fees involved.

Step 6: Gather and upload the correct documents

  • Remember that you will be given a personalized document checklist after answering a series of questions at the beginning of the application process.
  • However, here’s a guide to your documents given the nature of this special work permit:
Required DocumentWhere to upload the file in your account
Upload a letter stating: “I am exempt from paying fees under the Hong Kong special measures”Proof of fee exemption
Copy of educational credential, transcript, or proof of enrollment at your post-secondary schoolProof that you meet the requirements of the job being offered
Copy of your HKSAR or BNO passport (include ALL pages)Passport
Digital photoDigital photo
IMM 5707 Family Information FormFamily information form (IMM 5707)

 

  • You may be asked to provide additional documents – depending on your personal situation – like a marriage certificate, for example.
  • Fees for extensions to your temporary residence status in Canada are exempt for Hong Kong residents in Canada who apply for an extension of authorization to remain in Canada as one of the following:
    • Temporary Resident ($100)
    • Temporary Worker ($155)
    • International Student ($150)

If you wish to work while you wait for your application to be processed you should:

  • Fill out the IRCC Webform found here.
  • In the enquiry section of the webform, copy and paste the following text:

Priority Code VISIT2WORK2020: I am requesting consideration under the Temporary Public Policy to Exempt Certain Visitors in Canada from Immigration Requirements during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic and ask that the applicable exemptions be granted until a decision is made on my work permit application or it is withdrawn.

My previous work permit number [U#########] expired on [Date].

I have submitted my application for a work permit online. OR I have submitted my application on paper and the postal/courier tracking number is NUMBER.

I intend to work for [employer NAME] / [occupation] as specified in the aforementioned work permit application.

I understand that providing false, misleading or incorrect information is a violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and may result in enforcement measures against me.

  • Please note: Make sure you fill in the information in the various square brackets above with the specific details relating to your work permit:
    • Dates
    • Work permit number (the one that begins with U)
    • Name of employer
    • Title of your job
  • Wait for an email from the IRCC. It should take at least a couple of weeks to arrive.
  • Your Work Permit will be mailed to the address you gave when filling out form IMM 5710 Application to Change Conditions, extend my stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker.

Can I still apply for this Open Work Permit if I worked or studied illegally in Canada before?

Yes, you can. Under the new Public Policy, Hong Kong residents are not prohibited from being issued a work permit they have engaged in unauthorized work or study in Canada or have failed to comply with the conditions of a pervious permit or authorization unless they have regularly offered striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic messages, or their employers do not meet the criteria under immigration or employment law.

Posted in News Tips and tagged Hong Kong Residents, Hong Kong youth, Open Work Permit

Related Posts