Canada widens door for Hong Kong immigrants owing to the new National Security Law

The Canadian government has announced to offer an up-to-3 year open work permit for eligible Hong Kong citizens, creating an easier and faster pathway to obtain permanent residency in Canada. They clearly indicated that this was in response to the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong by China. 

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino made the announcement on November 12, saying that Canada will be implementing new immigration measures in 2021. 

This will allow Hong Kong residents who completed post-secondary studies within 5 years to apply for an open work permit, which may be valid for up to 3 years. Those who followed this pathway could meet the criteria for applying for permanent resident status, and their spouses’ or relatives’ applications for immigration will also be accelerated. 

Canadian government will also expedite study permit applications for people who want to study in Canada. 

Mendicino described the newcomers from Hong Kong made outstanding contributions to Canada, he believed the new measures could support Hong Kong residents and Canadians in Hong Kong. “The changes we’re announcing today will strengthen our relationship with the people of Hong Kong and bring us closer together,” he said.

Canada stressed that the National Security Law in Hong Kong passed by China undermined rights and freedoms. The Canadian government assured that they will continue to stand up for democracy and human rights and support whoever under prosecution by this law can seek help by the new measures fairly. 

Chinese embassy in Ottawa urged Canada to stay out of China’s internal affairs, restating that Canada “shall go no further on the wrong path.”

The Hong Kong Watch, a UK-based charity that observes and reports on Hong Kong’s basic freedoms, autonomy and democracy, otherwise welcomed the new measures, claiming that Hong Kong protesters had a high degree of education level as well as of treasures to freedom and rights. Founder of the Group, Benedict Rogers also called for other countries’ actions providing escape plans for Hong Kong youths. 

Hong Kong Watch has posted on Twitter, welcoming the new immigration policy by Canada. Screen captured on Twitter.

Charlie Tang, a reporter in his third year at a local newspaper firm, Apple Daily, has been planning for further study abroad. Especially after the arrest of his employer in August and of a reporter reporting “721 Yuen Long attacks” recently, Tang believed Hong Kong could no longer provide a suitable and sound environment for journalists. He added that the new measures encouraged him to make a bold decision to leave the city he was born in. He also felt that the Canadian Ministry has made a good dividing line by inviting youth only, as they are indeed the ones who have contributed much to the recent movement. Tang believed the young power could also bring more benefits to the economic growth of Canada as well.

Charlie Tang is going through the new immigration policy announced by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. Photo by Ingrid Ling

(Feature Image from Canada Immigration Department press release) 

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