If you’d like to immigrate from Hong Kong to Canada, there are many options available. In addition to popular, globally-available pathways like International Experience Canada (IEC) and Express Entry, Canada is also creating a series of new immigration pathways specifically for Hong Kong residents. These new pathways are launching throughout 2021.
This is your guide to the best Canadian immigration options for Hong Kong residents.
Canada is creating new immigration pathways to help Hong Kong residents
In 2020, Canada announced plans to introduce three new pathways to help Hong Kong youth immigrate to Canada. The plans also include special immigration measures to assist Hong Kong residents, including Canadians residing in Hong Kong, who wish to immigrate, or return, to Canada. These new pathways are in response to Canada’s concern “about the new National Security Law and the deteriorating human rights situation there.”
The first of the three pathways, an open work permit stream for recent graduates, will launch in February 2021. The two additional pathways, one for permanent residence applicants and one for study permit applicants, are expected to launch later in 2021.
Open work permit program for recent graduates
As of February 8, 2021, Canada will launch a new open work permit pathway for Hong Kong residents who are recent graduates of post-secondary institutions. This initiative will enable Hong Kong residents who are in Canada or abroad to apply for an open work permit in Canada. These open work permits will be valid for a period of up to three years.
In order to be eligible to apply, Hong Kong residents must have completed a post-secondary diploma or degree from a program of at least two years. The credential must have been completed within the five years prior to applying. This credential may have been completed in any country, but if the program was not in Canada, applicants must show that the credential is equivalent to a Canadian diploma or degree.
Hong Kong residents who are currently in Canada as visitors, students, or workers, may apply for the new open work permit online. However, those outside Canada are subject to Canada’s ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions and thus will be unable to travel to Canada unless the meet one of the exemptions to the travel restrictions and follow all public health protocols.
IEC Working Holiday Program
Every year, tens of thousands of people from more than 30 countries come to Canada to live and work under the IEC program. Hong Kong is one of the countries that has a Working Holiday agreement with Canada, allowing Hong Kong passport holders to work for any employer in Canada and to switch jobs and location after arrival. However, a range of qualifying criteria does exist. For instance, you must be between 18 and 30 years old to apply, and there is a limited quota system in place.
Hong Kong has been part of the Working Holiday agreement with Canada since 2010. Each year, hundreds of Hong Kong passport holders take advantage and receive approval to move to Canada from Hong Kong. However, interest in the IEC program typically exceeds the total quota for Hong Kong passport holders — so be sure to plan ahead!
The IEC program is a great way to explore this amazing country. It’s also a chance to embark on a successful career in Canada, with opportunities to stay beyond your initial work permit.
The 2021 IEC season is open as of March 1 for many countries. New COVID-19 measures have been introduced. Full details in our Working Holiday Newshub.