• Nan Berezowski

Support for Hong Kong - Canada Steps Up

As part of a larger government response, Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently announced a number of measures that will allow Hong Kong students and youth to quickly come to Canada on Work Permits and Study Permits. IRCC will also introduce two new pathways to permanent residence that will also benefit people from Hong Kong already in Canada on Work or Study Permits.


Below are highlights of the new measures announced on November 11, 2020:


1. IRCC will expedite the processing of permits for young people from Hong Kong who are eligible and want to come to Canada to work or study;


2. A new initiative specific to Hong Kong youth will provide open work permits of up to 3 years in duration, with eligibility criteria centred on post-secondary education in Canada or abroad completed in the last 5 years. Eligible spouses or common-law partners, as well as dependent children, may also be able to apply for a Study or Work Permit.


3. For those who come to Canada to either study or work, 2 new pathways to permanent residence will be available sometime in 2021:

  • The first will target former Hong Kong residents who have gained a minimum of 1 year of authorized work experience in Canada and meet other criteria such as minimum language and education levels.

  • The second will be for those who have graduated from a postsecondary institution in Canada. These individuals will be allowed to apply directly for permanent residence.

For both pathways, principal applicants will be able to include in Canada spouses, partners, and dependent children in their application.


4. IRCC will also waive application processing fees for Hong Kong residents in Canada on a temporary basis when they apply to renew their status to extend their stay; and


5. IRCC will resume processing International Experience Canada applications, paused due to COVID-19, for Hong Kong youth. Approved participants can already travel to Canada under the current travel restrictions, provided they have a current and active job offer.


The Canadian government has also indicated that it has stepped up its efforts to assist individuals at risk of persecution who are presently in Canada or in a third country. In an apparent reference to recent events in Hong Kong, the November 11, 2020 Press Release states that: ‘Canada supports the right to peaceful protest, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Taking part in peaceful protests is not considered an offence in Canada”.


This update has been compiled with the latest available information for the general information of Border Law clients and other interested parties. This Update is not comprehensive and should not be relied upon without appropriate legal advice.