Guidance for special measures to support Hong Kong residents to come to Canada
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
These instructions provide guidance to officers on the following:
- the administration of temporary and permanent residence measures for Hong Kong youth
- facilitative measures to support family reunification for those who meet the eligibility criteria
Applicant instructions: How do I get priority processing if I’m a resident of Hong Kong?
On this page
- Fee waiver
- Paper-based applications
- Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents
- Temporary residence
- Permanent residence
Under these facilitative measures, the following clients may be eligible as a principal applicant or an accompanying dependant:
- Canadian citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, Canadian permanent residents or protected persons in Hong Kong and their immediate and extended family members living in Hong Kong regardless of nationality
- immediate family members of Hong Kong residentsFootnote * who will be working or studying in Canada
- residents of Hong Kong, who may be living in Canada, the United States or abroad, and who hold a passport issued by either of the following:
- the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China, as defined by paragraph 190(2)(d) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR)
- the United Kingdom to a British National Overseas (BNO), as a person born, naturalized or registered in Hong Kong, as per paragraph R190(2)(e)
HKSAR and BNO (Hong Kong) passport holders who are temporary residents in Canada may have their fees waived under these special measures if they are applying for an extension of authorization to remain in Canada as a
- temporary resident ($100) [R305(1)]
- worker ($155)
- student ($150)
Applicants who have not yet submitted their paper-based application must label their envelope with “Urgent – Hong Kong priority” to ensure officers process their application on a priority basis.
Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents
All passport applications for Canadian citizens residing in Hong Kong will be prioritized. For more information, contact the Passport Program.
Canadian permanent residents residing in Hong Kong who require a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) will have their paper applications prioritized at IRCC Hong Kong.
All temporary residence applications for HKSAR or BNO passport holders should be processed following the Temporary residence: COVID-19 program delivery instructions.
Holders of HKSAR passports are visa exempt and may apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA) should they wish to come to Canada.
Priority processing instructions:
IRCC will give priority processing to temporary residence applications from immediate and extended family members (as defined in the Orders in Council) of Canadian citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, Canadian permanent residents and protected persons in Canada who have applied for permanent residence, if their family members abroad hold a valid passport and have remained in, or have departed, Hong Kong. These measures apply to new and existing applications.
Priority processing should be given to all study permit applications received from HKSAR and BNO passport holders.
Officers should process all Hong Kong study permit applications and finalize those that are for designated learning institutions (DLIs) on the list of DLIs with COVID-19 readiness plans approved by their provincial or territorial authority. If their DLI is not on the list, officers should still process their application but not finalize it until their DLI is on the approved list.
Until further notice, officers may continue to request any necessary additional documents or impose regulatory requirements for processing in relation to study permit applications, including police certificates, biometric enrolments, passports and medical examinations, as follows:
- When additional documentation is required to make a decision on the application, processing officers should send a request letter and allow 90 days for the applicant to respond.
- If a request for additional documentation was previously sent but the applicant was unable to comply within the deadline, processing officers should bring forward the deadline and allow an additional 90 days for the applicant to respond.
Until further notice, applicants will not be refused for non-compliance.
As of February 8, 2021, foreign nationals who hold either a HKSAR or BNO passport are eligible to apply for an open work permit under a 2-year temporary resident public policy exempting them from the requirements of paragraph R200(1)(c). Applicants can be residing in Canada or overseas at the time of application. Foreign nationals are not eligible to apply for an open work permit at a port of entry. Work permit applications must be submitted online. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers may authorize entry as a visitor.
Eligible spouses or common-law partners, as well as dependent children, can also apply for a study or work permit, as appropriate.
The applicant must hold either a
- degree (for example, bachelor, master, doctorate) from a DLI in Canada or an equivalent educational credential earned abroad, or
- diploma from a post-secondary DLI in Canada or the equivalent credential from an overseas institution along with an educational credential assessment (ECA) report from an agency approved by IRCC to confirm Canadian equivalency. The program of study must be at least 2 years in duration.
The educational credential must have been obtained in the 5 years immediately preceding application submission. For degrees issued overseas, officers may request an ECA report.
Applicants applying for an open work permit under the public policy must select in the online application tool that they are “Applying for a work permit under an active public policy or special measure announced by IRCC” for them to trigger the open work permit results. However, the amended document trigger portion will not be implemented for applications received outside Canada until later in 2021, and until then, clients will be instructed to upload a page with “Not applicable” in the “Client information” slot.
- Copy of educational credential, transcripts or proof of enrolment at a post-secondary educational institution
- Copy of HKSAR or BNO passport
- Family Information form [IMM 5707]
- CV or resume
- Digital photo
“Not applicable” documents
- Employment reference letter
- Letter from current employer
- Employment records
- Employment contract
As with any case, the officer reviewing the file may require a police certificate in order to be fully satisfied that the applicant is not criminally inadmissible.
Work permit extension or change conditions
HKSAR and BNO passport holders already in Canada are eligible to either extend their stay or apply for their initial open work permit from within Canada under the public policy.
For in-Canada work permit extension applications, a copy of the CV or resume is not required.
Exemptions from the IRPR
Under the public policy, the following exemptions apply for Hong Kong residents:
- Paragraphs R199(a) to (i) are waived – Hong Kong residents in Canada as visitors are eligible to apply for an open work permit under the public policy.
- Paragraph R200(3)(e) is waived – Hong Kong residents are not prohibited from being issued a work permit if the prohibition is only under paragraph R200(3)(e), that is, if they have engaged in unauthorized work or study in Canada or have failed to comply with the conditions of a previous permit or authorization, unless they engaged in unauthorized work for an employer described in section R196.1.
Note: The open work permit fee [R303.2(1)] is not required under the public policy for applications received in Canada, and officers must initiate a refund of the fee as per normal office procedures.
Open work permits for spouses or common-law partners and dependent children
An open work permit may be issued, under LMIA exemption code R01, to the spouse or common-law partner if the principal application is approved for a work permit under the public policy. Dependent children who have reached the age of majority (that is, 18 years of age and older) are also eligible to apply for an open work permit. Minor children can apply for a study permit under existing study permit streams, or may study without one at the K–12 level, if they are already in Canada.
International Experience Canada (IEC)
Prior to closing the program’s 2020 season on November 12, 2020, International Experience Canada (IEC) invited a number of Hong Kong youth in the IEC pool to submit an application. Hong Kong youth will not be able to enter Canada unless they have
- a valid port of entry letter of introduction (LOI)
- a valid job offer, which includes a written note from an employer in Canada that says
- their business is continuing to operate (whether essential or not)
- they will start work after the 14-day mandatory quarantine
- proof of adequate health-care coverage
Applications in progress will not be closed or refused for lack of documentation or inability to complete the application process in time, such as giving biometrics or completing a medical exam.
Permanent residence applications from family members of Canadian citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents or protected persons residing in Hong Kong that are in processing should be prioritized where feasible. However, in some circumstances, the most expeditious option for these clients may be to apply for an eTA or TRV.
Family class applications
Priority processing should be given to family class applications received from legal residents of Hong Kong (whether they are currently in Canada or outside of Canada or in the U.S.).
Existing complete family class permanent residence applications under section R10 will be processed on a priority basis while taking into consideration the additional processing guidance outlined in these instructions.
Use the organization ID to track all applications received from Hong Kong nationals. If the application is still incomplete in 90 days, officers should request the missing documents with an additional 90-day deadline.
If a new application is missing supporting documentation (associated fees are required) due to COVID-19 circumstances, the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) or Case Processing Centre in Mississauga (CPC-M) may promote the application, and it can be reviewed in 90 days. Officers should associate the organization ID to track all applications received from Hong Kong nationals. If the application is still incomplete in 90 days, officers should request the missing documents with an additional 90-day deadline.
Applications found to be incomplete with no explanation provided, or for reasons unrelated to the disruption of services associated with impacts of COVID-19, may be rejected as per section R10, and all fees associated with the application should be refunded to the applicant. The reason for rejection should be unrelated to the disruption of services.
Officers should consult the current Permanent residence: COVID-19 program delivery instructions for more information on processing applications that have been affected by the disruption in services as a result of COVID-19.
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