In view of the continuous suppression of democracy and human rights in Hong Kong by the Chinese Communist regime, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship of Canada on Thursday, November 12, unveiled new immigration rules for applicants from Hong Kong.
The new regulations will make it easier for Hong Kong people, particularly students and youth who do not have a British National (Overseas) passport, to work and study in the country and eventually apply for permanent residency. With the new rules, there are also measures to accelerate the processing of documents required by applicants.
Minister Marco Mendicino said he is “deeply concerned” about the National Security Law imposed in Hong Kong by the Chinese communist government that has triggered large-scale protests in the city. The new immigration regulations introduced by the government of Canada are in response to the current upheavals in Hong Kong.
On the same day, Mendicino also announced immigration initiatives designed to encourage recent Hong Kong graduates and those with essential work experience to choose Canada as a place of study, work, and settle. This announcement supports the commitments made by the government of Canada to maintain the many ties between Canada and Hong Kong.
This initiative is also in response to the Chinese Communist government’s imposition and implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020.
Under the new immigration rules, Canadians and Canadian permanent residents in Hong Kong are reassured that they can return to the country at any time, and any documents they require will be expedited.
“We are still very concerned about the situation in Hong Kong. As I said, this is the background of the policy announced today.” Minister Mendicino said that he hopes that Hong Kong people who want to work and study in Canada will bring their families to Canada, to build a better life.
New temporary visa and permanent resident program
This program, whose specifics will be launched in 2021, is intended to expedite the processing of visa applications received from Hong Kong students and youth who are qualified to work or study in Canada. It includes the following: a new open work permit that can be valid up to three years and the eligibility criteria are based on the Canadian or foreign tertiary education in the past 5 years; eligible spouses or common-law partners and dependent children are also eligible to apply for a study or work permit, whichever is appropriate. This program is expected to start soon.
Obtaining an open work permit will allow Hong Kong residents, particularly young people, to come to stay in Canada and gain valuable employment experience. The government is opening up two immigration pathways to permanent residency.
The first pathway is to aim at meeting at least one year of qualified work experience in Canada and meeting other criteria such as the minimum language and education levels; the second is for those who graduated from Canadian colleges and universities who are permitted to apply directly for permanent resident status. This pathway will be available in 2021.
For Hong Kong residents living in Canada on a temporary basis and applying to renew their status to extend their stay, those application processing fees will be waived.
The government continues to promote the opportunity for those who want to study in the country and to expedite study permit applications. Once their studies are completed, these students will have a new dedicated pathway to permanent residency.
In addition, Canada has also introduced a Super-Visa that allows parents and grandparents to stay for two years in a single entry for up to 10 years.
Hong Kong Watch Chief Executive Benedict Rogers welcomed Canada’s decision on immigration initiatives and measures and called on the United States, New Zealand, and other European Union countries to also join the launch of the “Escape Program” to provide substantial help to Hong Kong residents, in particular, the protesters.