CACN - Measures for Hong Kong Youth and Students - Nov 16, 2020
The recently announced measures have been designed to encourage Hong Kong youth to choose Canada as a place to study, work, and settle, given the skills and education many of them would bring to support our economy.
Canada will expedite the processing of study and work permit applications for youth from Hong Kong.
In addition to the existing work and study options for Hong Kong youth, a new work permit initiative specific to Hong Kong youth will provide open work permits of up to 3 years duration, with eligibility criteria centered on recent post-secondary education in Canada or abroad.
Once here to either study or work, two new pathways to permanent residence are being created, which will be available in 2021:
The first will target former Hong Kong residents who have gained a minimum of 1 year of authorized work experience in Canada and meet other criteria such as minimum language and education levels.
The second pathway will be for those who have graduated from a post-secondary institution in Canada. These individuals can then apply directly for permanent residence.
New temporary and permanent pathways for Hong Kong youth
In recognition of the talent and skills that Hong Kong youth can bring to Canada’s labour market and economy, my Department is implementing new measures that provide expanded opportunities for recent graduates to come to, or stay in, Canada on a new open work permit, with new pathways to stay permanently.
These new permanent resident pathways will also benefit Hong Kong residents who are already in Canada under existing work and study permits.
These new measures will ensure that Hong Kong residents have the skills and education to integrate into Canadian society and establish themselves economically, helping Canada’s workforce to stay competitive, dynamic and innovative.
The new open work permit measure – for which applications will be dealt with on a priority basis - is expected to launch later this year, with the permanent residence pathways to follow in 2021.
These measures complement those announced by Canada’s allies. Taken together, the new programs announced by Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom represent a significant expansion of opportunities for those who wish to leave Hong Kong to study, work, and settle.
In some regards, Canada’s measures also go beyond those announced by our allies by, for example, providing a pathway to permanent residency in as little as one year while maintaining core human capital requirements.
My Department is taking steps to enhance existing programs in support of Hong Kong youth and students who want to come to Canada or extend their stay here, including expediting study permit applications and resuming the processing of International Experience Canada applications.
Canada is one of the top preferred destinations for Hong Kong students, and we expect this trend to continue. We have already seen study permit applications nearly double in 2020 compared to 2019, and the government will continue to promote this opportunity.
My Department also continues to support the mission in Hong Kong in promoting Canada as a destination for youth considering work and travel through International Experience Canada.
Youth-focused programs are important gateways to gaining experience needed to qualify for permanent residence.
We are waiving application processing fees for Hong Kong residents in Canada who apply to extend their stay.
Supporting facts and figures
For context, as of September 30, 2020, there are approximately 4,900 Hong Kong residents who hold a study permit valid for 2020, and 3,000 who hold a work permit, for a total of 7,100 unique individuals (some may hold multiple types of permits). However, some of these individuals may not be in Canada.
Of the 3,000 post-secondary study permit holders, 75% are pursuing university-level education.
Of the 3,000 work permit holders, 94% are under the International Mobility Program.
New temporary and permanent pathways for Hong Kong youth
In addition to existing work and study options for Hong Kong youth, IRCC is also preparing to implement a new work permit measure specific to Hong Kong youth. Eligibility criteria will focus on recent post-secondary education obtained in Canada or abroad, and work permits can be requested for up to 3 years.
Eligible spouses or common-law partners, as well as dependent children, can also apply for a study or work permit, as appropriate. This new measure is expected to launch later this year, and applications will be prioritized.
Hong Kong residents who access this new work permit measure, as well as those already in Canada on work or study permits, may then benefit from two new pathways to permanent residence which will be available in 2021:
The first will target former Hong Kong residents who have gained a minimum of 1 year of work experience in Canada and meet other criteria such as minimum language and education levels.
The second pathway is intended for those who have graduated from a designated post-secondary institution in Canada. These individuals can then apply directly for permanent residence.
Of note, due to current COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong residents may choose to delay travel to Canada until the public health situation has abated or is resolved. Furthermore, overseas Hong Kong residents continue to be subject to the existing non-U.S. Order in Council which restricts travel for foreign nationals unless they qualify for an exemption or their travel is deemed non-optional/non-discretionary.
IRCC is implementing a number of facilitative measures that will support the student and youth population. These measures include:
Increasing promotion and recruitment efforts across various program areas - including International Experience Canada - to attract Hong Kong youth to study and work in Canada.
Resuming processing of International Experience Canada applications which has been paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allocating resources to speed up processing of study permit applications from Hong Kong.
Waiving the cost of documents for status renewals for Hong Kong residents who are in Canada on a temporary basis.
International Experience Canada
As promotion to foreign youth is primarily undertaken by missions, IRCC continues to support the mission in Hong Kong with their promotion of the International Experience Canada program through the provision of up-to-date promotional and marketing products that encourage Hong Kong youth to consider Canada as an International Experience Canada destination.
Orders in Council – Students
Of note, amendments have been made to the Orders in Council governing travel restrictions to Canada, such that as of October 20, 2020, international students may now allowed to travel to Canada provided that they meet the following conditions:
International students seeking to study in Canada must hold a valid study permit and must be attending a Designated Learning Institution that has been listed as having a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their responsive province or territory.
Students must also be able to demonstrate that they have an appropriate quarantine plan upon entry as per the Quarantine Act.
Students seeking entry from the United States can apply at the port of entry but must also be attending a Designated Learning Institution that has been listed as having a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their responsive province or territory.
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