New Changes to the Open Work Permit Program for Hong Kong Residents
Posted on 10/02/2023
Recent Announcements about the Hong Kong streams to Permanent Residence
As we explained previously here at MaxCan Immigration, as a result of increasing restrictions in Hong Kong, in 2021 Canada introduced a streamlined process to allow Hong Kong residents with an HKSAR passport or a BNO passport to come to Canada on an open work permit. Just recently, IRCC minister Sean Fraser has now announced that:
- the program will be extended for 2 more years until February 2025
- applicants now need to have completed their post-secondary studies within the past 10 years rather than the past 5 years to apply for the open work permit
- the open work permits will be valid for 3 years
What remains the same?
However, to apply for permanent residence in Canada, applicants will still have to:
- Under the Canadian Experience Stream, have completed their post-secondary education (in Canada or abroad) within the past 5 years and have worked in Canada for at least 1 year of full-time work (1,560 hours).
- Under the In-Canada Graduates Stream, have completed their post-secondary education within the past 3 years at a Designated Learning Institution in Canada.
Why are these changes important?
While it’s encouraging that the program has been extended for 2 years, the real change is that you can have graduated from a post-secondary institution up to 10 years before applying and still have your degree/diploma/certificate be valid for the purposes of this program.
Say you graduated in 2015 from university in Hong Kong. Under the old rules your degree wouldn’t have been considered valid as it was granted more than 5 years prior to 2021 when the program was first announced – assuming you applied in 2021. So, you would not have been able to apply to the Canadian Experience Stream.
That meant that you would have had to choose the In-Canada Graduate Stream instead and enroll in a Canadian post-secondary school as an international student. That meant paying tuition fees that are 3 to 4 times higher than what Canadian citizens or permanent residents pay, not to mention spending several years gaining your degree instead of gaining experience working in Canada.
That added cost and time was and is a barrier to many talented, young Hong Kong residents who wish to work and live in Canada.
Now you can have graduated up to sometime in early 2013 – depending on how soon you apply to the upgraded program – and that means many graduates who would have been excluded are now able to apply under the Canadian Experience Stream. As long as they qualify, once they’ve worked for at least 1 year, they can then apply for permanent residence in Canada.
In other words, the changes announced by the Canadian government open up the Canadian Experience Stream to far more Hong Kong residents who are also graduates from post-secondary institutions located both abroad and in Canada.
How do I Apply to the Upgraded Program?
The process is similar to the one we described in the link at the beginning of this blog, but there have been some changes, so let’s review the process of applying in 2023.
- You need to apply online unless special circumstances and/or disabilities require you to apply on paper.
- Use Guide 5067 to help you complete the online application. The Guide lists which forms are online forms and which forms are PDF forms and gives you the links to download the forms.
Step 1: Get ready to apply online. Go here to set up your Permanent Residence Online Application Portal Account.
Step 2: Complete your application. Fill in your online forms and fill in your PDF forms on your PC and then upload them to your online application.
- Use form IMM 0314 Document Checklist to make sure you have provided all the required information and filled in all the forms. The document checklist will indicate which forms are online forms – the rest are PDF forms.
- If applying under Stream A, In-Canada Graduates, fill in Schedule 7A – form IMM 0135
- If applying under Stream B, Canadian Work Experience, fill in Schedule 7B – form IMM 0136
- Instructions on required photographs (1 for each family member) are given in the online application as well as instructions on how to scan both sides and upload them.
Step 3: Pay your fees online using a Credit Card or Debit Master Card or Visa Debit Card. You’ll also need a valid email address. If you are required to give biometrics it is advised to pay your biometrics fees when submitting your application as this will speed up the process and avoid delays. Your fee is C$ 1085, including your Right of Permanent Residence Fee. Although you can wait until your application is successful to pay your Right of Permanent Residence Fee, it is recommended you pay it when submitting your application to avoid delays. Guide 5067 gives you a chart on how to calculate your fees and how to pay them.
Step 4: Submit your application, after first reviewing it for any errors or omissions. If it is incomplete it will be rejected and you’ll have to correct the errors and re-submit it. So, please take the time to review it before electronically submitting it.
What Happens Next?
Once your application has been deemed complete, you’ll be asked to give biometrics (if required) and then take a medical exam. Do not take a medical exam until requested to do so. Go here to see if you need to give biometrics.
If your application is approved you’ll receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence Document, which confirms you’re approved to become a permanent resident of Canada. You’ll also be asked to give your mailing address in Canada so you can be mailed your PR card.
If your application is rejected you’ll receive an email/letter explaining why.