Canada is expanding its open work permit options for Hong Kong nationals, according to immigration minister Sean Fraser. A statement issued by the Minister of Labour in Toronto indicated that the Open Work Permit (OWP) for Hong Kong residents would be extended for a further two years, which had been intended to expire today.
For Hong Kong residents to be eligible, they must have graduated with a Canadian post-secondary diploma or degree within the last 10 years, a change from the current five years requirement, or they must have a foreign credential that qualifies for an Educational Credential Assessment in order to be eligible. There must be a minimum of two years involved in a post-secondary diploma program.
Pathways for Hong Kongers to Become Permanent Residents of Canada
It is also worth noting that Canada provides permanent residence pathways for Hong Kong residents who have completed some, or all, of their post-secondary education in Canada. These paths are divided into two categories:
Stream A grants permanent residence to Hong Kong residents who have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution.
Stream B provides permanent residence to Hong Kong residents who have graduated from a post-secondary institution in Canada or abroad and have worked in Canada for at least one year.
These two streams allow principal applicants (the student) to include spouses, partners, and dependent children.
A passport issued by one of these countries is required:
- People’s Republic of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region;
- Hong Kong born, naturalized, or registered British National Overseas.
Hong Kongers in Canada
Hong Kong has always been a major source of immigrants to Canada. According to census data from 2021, 213,855 immigrants in Canada chose Hong Kong as their place of birth.
In the past, Hong Kong was the number one source of immigration to Canada, with as many as 30,000 Hong Kong residents moving to Canada each year until 1997. As former British colonies, Canada and Hong Kong have some shared history, which has helped establish a strong economic relationship. Hong Kong became a British colony in 1997 and the Chinese government took control of it, resulting in a significant decline in population.
In the first quarter of 2022, Canada welcomed 3,750 new permanent residents from Hong Kong, which is an increase of 2,295 compared to the same period in 2021. In addition, even during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Canada welcomed 1,045 permanent residents from Hong Kong.
Nevertheless, the number of study permits issued to Hong Kongers between January and November 2022 has increased steadily over the last few years. The number rose from 2,095 study permits issued in 2015 to 6,345 in 2021, and 8,705 study permits were issued between January and November 2022.
It has also been observed that there has been a rise in the number of work permits issued under the International Mobility Program in the years between 2019 and 2022. The number of permits issued from 985 to 8,795 in 2022 is more than double the number of permits issued in 2021.