The Canadian government on Tuesday opened two new routes to permanent residence for Hong Kong recent graduates and workers living in Canada as part of an initiative initially announced last year.
One pathway will allow Hong Kong residents who have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution in the past three years to apply for permanent residence.
The other pathway targets Hong Kong residents who have worked in Canada for at least one year in the past three years, in addition to having completed post-secondary studies in Canada or abroad within the past five years.
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“This landmark initiative will strengthen our economy and deepen the strong ties between Canada and the people of Hong Kong,” Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said in a statement.
“Skilled Hong Kongers will have a unique opportunity to both develop their careers and help accelerate our recovery.”
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The Canadian government first announced the special immigration measures in November in response to China’s imposition of a sweeping new national security law in the former British colony last year.
Opponents say the legislation was aimed at crushing dissent and has eroded freedoms, while supporters say the law has restored order after mass anti-government protests in 2019.
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These two new streams require applicants to be in Canada when they apply and when they are granted permanent residence.
Canada launched the first of the three schemes in February, a new three-year open work permit for Hong Kong residents who have completed post-secondary studies within the past five years. That pathway received 3,481 applications between February 8 and June 2, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Canada is a second home for many Hong Kong residents after their families moved to the Vancouver and Toronto areas ahead of the city’s return to Chinese rule in 1997.