Canada is a perfect place to live and work. Every year, thousands of applicants worldwide apply for Express Entry System to immigrate to Canada. However, Canada is launching two new immigration programs for the residents of Hong Kong. They will also implement new measures for asylum claimants.
Marco Mendicino, Immigration Minister, made this announcement on November 12. He said these initiatives build on the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan.
Moreover, these measures will also support Canada’s commitment to maintain the connection between Hong Kong and Canada. These changes are according to the implementation of the Chinese government in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020. This law criminalized “subversion, terrorism, secession, and collusion with foreign forces.” However, they also provide comprehensive definitions of these crimes, which cover freedoms and human rights.
The minister also stated that Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Hong Kong would get accelerated processing of their documents to return to Canada. However, family members of Canadians may also be able to travel to Canada under the current situation. They will quarantine for 14 days upon the arrival.
Overall, 300,000 Canadians are living in Hong Kong currently. However, it is one of the largest Canadian communities abroad.
Two New Immigration Pathways for Hong Kong Residents
Canada is accelerating the process of permits for eligible Hong Kong youth who are willing to work or study in Canada.
However, IRCC will also offer a new open work permit for the Hong Kong graduates. This permit can be valid for three years, and the experience gained can be helpful for the application regarding permanent residency.
These work permit holders can easily apply for immigration through current pathways like the Express Entry System. Moreover, they can also use one of the two immigration programs, specifically for Hong Kong youth.
Eligibility criteria for this open work permit will also be helpful for the candidates who completed their post-secondary education in the last five years, either in Canada or abroad. However, their spouses, dependent children, and common-law partners can also apply for a study or work permit. They need to be eligible to apply for any of these programs.
The government hasn’t announced any date for when this program will begin. However, it is expected to launch soon, according to a media release.
These two new pathways for permanent residence will begin in 2021. The first program will be available for the former Hong Kong residents who have a minimum of one year of work experience. It will also be applicable for the applicants having minimum education and language levels.
However, the second program will be for the people who have graduated from any Canadian post-secondary institution. These people will be able to apply for permanent residence directly. For both of these new paths, applicants can also add inland partners, spouses, and dependent children in their application.
Measures for Asylum Claimants from Hong Kong
Taking part in peaceful protests is not a crime in Canada. People who convicted or arrested for protesting will not get a denial on the grounds of inadmissibility.
Canada is also implementing an exemption to the 12-month bar on pre-removal risk assessment for Hong Kong residents. According to these assessments, they will examine the risk a person can face upon returning to their home country. Usually, people who get a refusal for a refugee claim are not eligible to apply again for a year. They can’t apply for a year from the date of the decision. Consequently, according to this new exemption some people who were ineligible before can now apply for another assessment.
Hong Kong residents and other foreigners who are still living in Canada can have access to the asylum system. Eligible asylum claims will get decision according to individual merits and evidence presented to the IRBC. However, they can also apply through Express Entry System stream.
Hong Kong residents at risk of persecution and flee to another country can also apply under current resettlement programs. They can apply for the Government-Assisted Refugees Program and Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
Additional Measures for Hong Kong Residents
Moreover, Canada is temporarily waiving the processing fee for Hong Kong residents in Canada. This applies to the people who want to extend their stay in Canada.
IRCC is also increasing recruitment and promotional efforts to attract more Hong Kong youth to study in Canada. The immigration department will continue handling IEC applications for Hong Kong youth that paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even with travel limitations, people can also travel to Canada under the IEC as long as they have a job offer. However, IRCC will also promote super visas for grandparents and parents. It will help them to come to Canada for over ten years for up to two years. Finally, IRCC has also allocated resources to accelerate the processing of permanent residence applications. It will also include family sponsorship. However, common-law partners and spouses who are applying for Canada can apply for an open work permit.