Posted on - Jun 08, 2021

By Catherine Sas Q.C. and Preet Gill

Catherine Sas Q.C.

Preet Gill

Today, the Honourable Marco E.L Mendicino, Minister of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) announced two new pathways that offer Canadian permanent residence for Hong Kong residents who are currently in Canada.

Canada and Hong Kong share a long historic relationship and Canada has continuously shown a commitment to support the citizens of Hong Kong. In June 2020, China imposed controversial National Security Laws in Hong Kong which threatens the security, liberty and privacy of Hong Kong nationals. In today’s public policy announcement, Minister Mendicino expressed Canada’s “deep concern” about the implementation of China’s National Security Laws in Hong Kong and the deterioration of human rights for its residents.

“With young Hong Kongers casting their eyes abroad, we want them to choose Canada. Our Hong Kong immigration pathway is a historic initiative, intended to attract talented applicants who will drive our economy forward. Skilled Hong Kongers will have a unique opportunity to both develop their careers and help accelerate our recovery. This landmark initiative will strengthen our economy and deepen the strong ties between Canada and the people of Hong Kong.”

—The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Minister Mendicino’s announcement follows the introduction of immigration initiatives in November 2020, to help more Hong Kongers come to Canada. On February 8, 2021, IRCC first opened the doors to Hong Kong residents allowing applicants to receive a 3-year open work permit to gain valuable work experience in Canada and be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

The two new streams announced today are open to eligible Hong Kongers who are workers or recent international graduates in Canada. This public policy will remain in effect until August 31, 2026. See Minister Mendicino’s full announcement here: Two New Pathways to Permanent Residence for Hong Kong Residents.

Hong Kong nationals who are currently in Canada with valid temporary resident status are encouraged to apply for permanent residence under one of the following two streams:

Stream A – International graduates in Canada who have completed an eligible program of study at a Designated Learning Institution (“DLI”) within the last 3 years and have completed at least 50% of the program of study (in person or online) while in Canada; and

Stream B – Individuals who are in Canada and have at least 1-year of full-time work experience or the part-time equivalent within the last 3 years, and have completed an eligible post-secondary program within the last 5-years in or outside of Canada.

In either stream, both students and workers in Canada must obtain a Canadian Language Benchmark (“CLB”) 5 or higher on all 4 language proficiencies, in either English or French.

In addition to the stream-specific requirements, to qualify under these new permanent residence pathways, applicants must also meet Canada’s general admissibility requirements such as medical and criminality checks.

To be granted Canadian permanent residency through these new streams, applicants must be physically present in Canada at the time of the application and at the time they receive permanent residence. They must also demonstrate their intent to live in any Canadian province or territory other than Quebec.

This newly announced Canadian immigration program supports the citizens of Hong Kong through this difficult time, while at the same time meeting Canada’s immigration objectives of attracting skilled immigrants. IRCC’s message is clear: Canadian’s want Hong Kongers to stay in Canada and give them the opportunity to develop their careers while accelerating Canada’s economic recovery.

Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 30 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 9 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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