As China backs away from its promise to allow Hong Kong to operate under their agreed upon, “one-country, two systems” framework, and cracks down on the residents of Hong Kong, Canada is coming to the rescue.
Immigration plays a key role in Canada’s economic and social growth. By targeting educated Hong Kongers, the Canadian government is hoping to attract bright, ambitious individuals while also helping them flee a deteriorating situation.
On November 12 2020, the Honourable Marco Mendicino announced new measures to help facilitate the permanent residency process for eligible students and youth in Hong Kong. These measures builds on the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan with the hope that students with education and essential work experience from Hong Kong will decide to settle in Canada.
Additional changes were made to immigration programs already in place in order to support Hong Kongers who are living in Canada right now and wish to stay here permanently. Or those individuals who are hoping to come to Canada once the pandemic subsides.
Assurances were made to Canadian permanent residents currently living in Hong Kong that they can come back to Canada any time. Any paperwork or documents that need to be filed will be prioritized and expedited.
The Minister also confirmed that anyone from Hong Kong who is currently residing in Canada will not have to pay an application processing fee if they are applying for an extension of their stay.
New Pathways for Hong Kong Students and Graduates immigrate to Canada
A new initiative will be launched soon targeting Hong Kong students, youth and graduates who wish to get their Canadian permanent residency. Under this initiative, Hong Kong residents who completed their post-secondary education, either in Canada or somewhere else may apply for an open work permit. This permit will be valid for three years and will enable younger people to come and work in Canada and gain that work experience.
In addition, 2021 will see the launch of two new pathways to permanent residency status:
- Designed for Hong Kong residents who meet the criteria for language and education and who also have work experience in Canada.
- Eligible application for study permits from Hong Kongers will be expedited. Once these students complete their education, they can then apply for Canadian permanent residency right away.
Immediate family members such as partners, spouses and dependent children will also be included in the application.
Additional Measures for Hong Kongers
Since the pandemic hit, the processing of applications under International Experience Canada (IEC) were suspended. This will now be resumed. Under the IEC program, thousands of people from around the world are welcomed into Canada for work.
Canada also has a Working Holiday Agreement in place with Hong Kong, which means Hong Kongers can work with a Canadian employer and are exempt from travel restrictions as long as they have a valid job offer.
Canada is also making every effort to expedite family sponsorship and permanent residency applications for residents of Hong Kong.
One of Canada’s biggest immigration program is the Family Sponsorship Program. The program’s main goal is to keep families united and together. An individual residing in Canada can sponsor their partner or spouse, dependent children, or other eligible family member such as a parent or grandparent.
In 2021, Canada is planning on accepting approximately 30,000 applications under the Parents and Grandparents Program.
Economic-Class Immigration Programs
Most younger residents of Hong Kong will do very well under Canada’s extremely popular Express Entry Program, where eligible candidates are awarded points based for education, language, age, work experience etc. on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Those who rank the highest are invited to apply for their permanent residency.
Another program that will be very beneficial to eligible Hong Kongers is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Under this program, provinces are targeting a specific group of people to fill a provincial need, for example, skilled workers or business people.
Given the increasingly volatile situation in Hong Kong and China’s human rights record, Canada, a country who has always defended democracy and human rights, is implementing measures and initiatives in an effort to help Hong Kongers find stability and safety.
Because of these measures, residents of Hong Kong will now have many different options and pathways for getting their permanent residency in Canada.