Open Work Permit for Hong Kong permanent residents marks a significant step

Canada’s recent announcement regarding the introduction of an Open Work Permit for Hong Kong permanent residents marks a significant step in supporting individuals affected by the changes in Hong Kong’s political landscape. 

On February 8, 2021, Canada announced a special immigration pathway aimed at providing a route to permanent residency for Hong Kong residents in response to events unfolding in the region. This initiative was introduced to offer support and protection to individuals from Hong Kong facing challenges due to the imposition of the controversial national security law and other political developments. The immigration pathway provides eligible Hong Kong residents with expedited priority processing to obtain permanent residency in Canada. It is designed to offer a safe haven for those who wish to leave Hong Kong and seek refuge in a country that upholds democratic values, human rights, and the rule of law.

Recently on May 7th Marc Miller announced that from  May 27th, 2024 a  new public policy for Hong Kong permanent residence (PR) applicants under special measures, will be effective. This initiative aims to provide new opportunities for Hong Kong citizens who have chosen to make Canada their home.Recognizing the challenges faced by Hong Kong residents, the Canadian government has taken proactive measures to extend support to applicants under Hong Kong permanent residency pathway (if they (1) applied for permanent residence under Stream A (in-Canada graduates) or B (Canadian work experience) of the temporary public policy for Hong Kong SAR residents in Canada)  to be able to extend their status and obtain a new open work permit. This new temporary public policy will offer open work permit to those waiting for a final decision on their permanent residence applications.

The new policy will remain in place for five years during which time candidates can continue to work Permit in Canada while their application for permanent residency is being processed.If an applicant applies under this public policy and their temporary status expires ninety days before they can apply for a new open work visa, and can simultaneously petition to reinstate their temporary status.

Eligibility Criteria

 Applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria, including holding valid Hong Kong permanent residency status, residing in Canada at the time of application, and satisfying admissibility requirements. Other requirements for this policy is as followed

  • applied for permanent residence via the temporary public policy for Hong Kong residents in Canada under Stream A (in-Canada graduates) or Stream B (Canadian work experience), and
  • had a Work Permit or study visa during the three years before their application for permanent residency was received by the IRCC.

As of April 30, 2023, a total of 3,122 Hong Kong permanent residents successfully transitioned to permanent residency through these two streams. Among them, 2,358 individuals were granted permanent residency through Stream A, while 764 individuals received permanent residency through Stream B.These numbers reflect the effectiveness of these special permanent residency programs in facilitating the integration of Hong Kong residents into Canadian society. 

In conclusion, the introduction of the Open Work Permit for Hong Kong permanent residents represents a positive development in Canada’s immigration policy. It offers tangible support to individuals facing uncertainty and upheaval in their homeland, providing them with opportunities for stability, growth, and a brighter future in Canada. As the program takes effect on May 27, it heralds a new chapter of hope and opportunity for Hong Kong residents seeking refuge and resettlement in Canada.

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