CANADA’S NEW POLICY FOR HONG KONG RESIDENTS SEEKING PERMANENT RESIDENCY

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has implemented a new temporary policy allowing Hong Kong residents who are permanent residency (PR) applicants to stay in Canada and work while their applications are being processed. This change aims to address the high volume of applications from Hong Kong under the initial public policy introduced in 2021, which provided two pathways to Canadian PR for Hong Kong residents who have worked or studied in Canada.

What Does the New Policy Entail?

  1. Extending Status and Applying for Open Work Permits: Starting from May 27, 2024, Hong Kong residents who applied for PR under the 2021 policy can extend their status and apply for an open work permit (OWP). This allows them to remain in Canada and work while their PR applications are processed.
  2. Who Qualifies? The new policy is designed for those who applied under Stream A (in-Canada graduates) or Stream B (Canadian work experience) and held a work or study permit within the three years before their PR application was received. This policy has been in place for five years, providing a secure pathway for those awaiting PR approval.
  3. Maintained Status and Restoration of Status: Individuals with temporary status must monitor and renew their work or study permits as needed. Those who apply to extend their permit before it expires have legal status in Canada due to “maintained status.” Additionally, those who have lost status within 90 days before applying for an OWP can restore their status under the new policy. However, if a person has been out of status for more than 90 days before applying, they will not be eligible.

Context Behind the New Policy

Canada’s long-standing relationship with Hong Kong dates back to 1923, with Hong Kong being one of the largest sources of new immigrants to Canada. In response to China’s national security law imposed on Hong Kong in 2020, Canada established special pathways for Hong Kong residents to immigrate, fearing that the new law could undermine rights and freedoms.

Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy underscores its commitment to assisting Hong Kong residents. This new policy is part of Canada’s ongoing efforts to support those seeking permanent residency, allowing them to work and live in Canada while their applications are being reviewed.

Key Takeaways

  1. Temporary Policy for Hong Kong Residents: The new policy allows Hong Kong PR applicants to extend their status and apply for open work permits, allowing them to stay and work in Canada during the PR application process.
  2. Requirements for Eligibility: The policy applies to those who applied under Stream A or Stream B of the 2021 policy and who held a work or study permit within the three years before their PR application was received.
  3. Maintained Status and Restoration: Individuals with temporary status in Canada can maintain their legal status while waiting for their documents to be renewed. However, those out of status for more than 90 days before applying are not eligible for restoration.

If you need more information on this new policy or have questions about your eligibility for Canadian immigration, consult with an Experienced Canadian Immigration Consultant.