IRCC Announces Easier Route for Hong Kong Residents to Stay and Work in Canada

Since June 1, 2021, Canada has had in place two pathways to permanent residence for applicants from Hong Kong – on top of the pre-existing permanent residence streams available to them. Namely, these are Stream A (for in-Canada graduates) and Stream B (for in- or out-of-Canada graduates holding Canadian work experience).

However, in a latest update dating July 11, 2023, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) extended its support for Hong Kong residents by further streamlining the process for their immigration to Canada. This was implemented through a change in the conditions of Stream B, as announced by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Markham – Unionville, Paul Chiang.

On behalf of the Honorable Sean Fraser, Chiang declared the removal of the education requirement under Stream B. This would allow Hong Kong residents to apply for permanent residence if they meet only the sufficient work experience; their education status, starting August 15, would no longer restrict them from submitting a successful application.

The amendment in question is complementary to a recent update to the open work permit program for Hong Kong residents who have graduated from a Canadian or foreign post-secondary learning institution in the past 10 years. This change extends their deadline to apply and expands their eligibility for consideration, as the previous eligibility for application was graduation within the past 5 years. Moreover, it allows them to work in Canada on an open work permit for an additional 2 years.

These recent adjustments have a two-fold impact, for both the applicant as well as the Canadian labor force. While the former can gain permanent residence in Canada through an easier channel than before, the latter is enriched by the skilled workforce provided by Hong Kongers. “Our government recognizes that true talent and valuable expertise are not solely defined by formal education credentials,” said Chiang. “This change sends a powerful message of welcome and encouragement, reinforcing our commitment to building a diverse and prosperous nation.”

The policy change reflects Canada’s commitment to its Indo-Pacific Strategy, which aims to strengthen its involvement in the region. Hong Kong in specific is a large source of immigrants to Canada, with Canada accepting 3,122 permanent residents (2,358 from Stream A and 764 from Stream B) as of April 30, 2023.

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