Certain residents in Hong Kong will soon be able to immigrate to Canada a little easier, should they chose to do so.
The federal government recently announced a series of new measures designed to improve and increase immigration from Hong Kong in direct response to China’s ongoing crackdown on personal and political freedoms in the former British territory.
Among the new measures is a new open work permit for eligible Hong Kong residents in Canada or abroad who have recently completed post-secondary studies.
Work permits will be valid for up to three years and will increase permit holders’ ability to obtain Canadian permanent residency.
The federal government will introduce a new pathway to permanent resident status for in-Canada Hong Kong residents in 2021. The pathway will be based on a newly created criteria that will include minimum language and education levels and one year of work experience in Canada.
They also announced that they will be expediting the processing time of permanent residence applications from Canadians and Canadian permanent residents in Hong Kong and plan to expedite study permit applications for students who wish to study in Canada, including those from Hong Kong.
Additionally, application processing fees for renewal applications are being waived for Hong Kong residents in Canada on a temporary basis.
Marco E. L. Mendicino, the minister of immigration, said in a press release that Canadians and Canadian permanent residents in Hong Kong that they can return to Canada at any time and that the federal government continues to support the people of Hong Kong and to stand up for democracy and human rights. He also said the new measures are aimed at strengthening Canada’s relationship with the people of Hong Kong.
“The people-to-people ties between Canada and Hong Kong are strong and deep, and these new measures celebrate those long-standing relationships. Newcomers from Hong Kong, including students, have made outstanding contributions to Canada, and the changes we’re announcing today will strengthen our relationship with the people of Hong Kong and bring us closer together,” he said.
Hong Kong is a former British territory that was returned to China in 1997 under the condition that it would remain democratic and free for 50 years. Earlier this year, China, earlier this year, a national security law that criminalizes “secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces” and jeopardizes the individual freedoms of people in Hong Kong.
An estimated 300,000 Canadians reside in Hong Kong, one of the largest Canadian communities overseas.