All About Canada’s Open Work Permit for Hong Kong Residents

Published on: February 10th, 2021
Last updated: July 11th, 2023

Starting February 8th 2021, eligible Hong Kong residents can apply for a 3 year Canadian open work permit, designed to give highly educated Hong Kong residents the opportunity to gain valuable Canadian work experience. In addition to now being eligible for a 3 year open work permit, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has created two new immigration pathways for Hong Kong residents.

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Who qualifies for the Hong Kong resident 3 year open work permit?

This program is designed to attract highly educated applicants. As such, empathsis is placed on the applicants post secondary education. In addition to holding a valid passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) or the United Kingdom to a British National Overseas (BNO), to be eligible under this program, the applicant must have graduated within 5 years of applying, from one of the following programs:

Any degree or diploma awarded from an institute outside of Canada will need to be assessed to Canadian standards by a designed body.

How do I apply for the 3 year open work permit?

All applications under this new pilot program must be submitted online. Port of entry application are not accepted. For applicants in Canada, paper-based applications will be accepted but must be marked “Urgent – Hong Kong priority.”

What documents do I need to apply for the 3 year open work permit?

Applicants should be prepared to provide the following documents as part of their application:

  • Completed application forms;
  • Civil status documents;
  • Copy of education credential, transcripts or proof of enrolment at a post-secondary educational institution;
  • Copy of your education report from a designed body;
  • Copy of your Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or British National Overseas passport (all pages must be included);
  • Evidence of your work history in the from of a CV/ Resume;
  • Digital photo.

How much does the 3 year open work permit cost?

Like all open work permit application, the applicant will need to pay processing fees of $255CAD. Applicants you are already in Canada may have part of this fee waived if they are applying to extent their authorized stay in Canada.

Do I need a job offer to get the 3 year open work permit?

As this is an application for an open work permit, it is not necessary to have a job offer from a Canadian company to apply. Successful applicants will receive an open work permit which means they can work for any employer in any occupation across Canada with a few exceptions.

How long will the 3 year open work permit be valid?

This pilot program allows for the open work permit to be issued for up to 3 years. However, like all Canadian permits, if your passport expires before the 3-year period, the open work permit will be valid up until the expiry of your passport.

For example, if your passport is valid for 6 months, then you will be issued an open work permit for 6 months.

To get the most out of this program, before applying under this program, make sure your passport is valid for at least 4 years to account for processing delays.

Can my spouse and dependent children also get work or study permit?

This new initiative also allows for eligible spouses or common-law partners, as well as dependent children, to apply for a study or work permit to come to Canada for the duration of your open work permit.

How long will it take to process my 3 year open work permit application?

As a result of COVID 19, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is currently enduring increased processing delays for all applications. It has however made a commitment to prioritize processing from Hong Kong residents applying under this pilot program.

Can I travel to Canada on this 3 year open work permit with current COVID 19 travel restrictions?

Due to current travel restrictions, in order to travel to Canada as this time and until further notice, you will need to:

  • Be approved for your open work permit;
  • Have a valid job offer;
  • Be able to work once you complete your 14-day quarantine in Canada.

Even if you are not eligible to travel to Canada, it is recommended that you proceed with an application under this program if you are eligible. You can then travel to Canada once the travel restrictions have been lifted or you secure employment in Canada.

What options do I have as a Hong Kong resident to apply for Canadian permanent residence?

In addition to the open work permit initiative, the government of Canada are set to implement 2 additional pathways to permanent residence for young Hong Kong residents, due to be released later this year. The first will be for Hong Kong residents with at least 1 year of work experience in Canada and who meet the language and education criteria. The second will be for Hong Kong residents who have graduated from a post-secondary institution in Canada.

How long will this program be available?

On release of the public policy allowing for Hong Kong residents to apply for this 3 year open work permit, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada confirmed this program will remain in effect until February 7, 2023.

If you’re interested in beginning your Canadian immigration journey in 2021, get started today by filling out our free online assessment and a member of our team will reach out to discuss the best option for you!

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