Canada Announces New Open Work Permit & Pathways to Permanent Residency

In response to the deteriorating state of human rights in Hong Kong, Canada has announced new measures for certain Hong Kong residents and their immediate family members to obtain Canadian work permits. As of February 8, 2021, holders of passports issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (Hong Kong SAR) and the United Kingdom to British National Overseas (BNO) are eligible to apply for an open work permit valid for up to three (3) years provided they meet certain eligibility criteria. An applicant must have obtained in the 5 years immediately preceding an application submission either a:

  • Bachelor’s, Master’s, or doctorate degree from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada, or an equivalent educational credential earned abroad, or

  • Two-year diploma from a post-secondary DLI in Canada, or the equivalent credential from an overseas institution accredited by an educational credential assessment (ECA) report from an approved agency.

The applicant does not need to be physically present in Hong Kong. Eligible candidates may submit applications from anywhere in the world, including Canada. In addition to the new open work permit eligibility, Canada is expanding pathways to permanent residence for Hong Kong residents in the coming weeks. One program will be for Hong Kong residents with at least one year of Canadian work experience who meet language and education criteria. The other program is expected to streamline applications for Hong Kong residents who have graduated from Canadian post-secondary institutions.

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