Feb 09 2021

Hong Kong Work Permit Program Now Accepting Applications


At a Glance 

  • As of February 8, 2021, Hong Kong special administrative region (SAR) residents or British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) passport holders who graduated with a Canadian post-secondary diploma or degree in the last five years or hold an equivalent foreign credential, can apply for a new work permit valid for up to three years. 

  • Eligible Hong Kong residents now have an additional pathway to reside and work in Canada.

The situation 

As of February 8, 2021, eligible Hong Kong special administrative region (SAR) residents can apply for new open work permits, which allow eligible nationals to work and reside in Canada. 

A closer look 

  • Validity. The work permit is valid for up to three years and it is open, meaning it allows holders to change employers in Canada during the permit validity period. 

  • Eligibility requirements. Hong Kong (SAR) residents must have graduated with a Canadian post-secondary diploma or degree in the last five years or hold an equivalent foreign credential. A post-secondary diploma program must be a minimum of two years. 

  • Application process. Hong Kong residents currently in Canada, including visitors, students and workers, can apply from within Canada by submitting an application online. Those applying from abroad remain subject to current COVID-19 travel restrictions and may not be able to enter Canada at this time, unless they meet a travel exemption. 

  • Dependents. Eligible spouses or common law partners and dependent children of the main applicant can apply for a study or work permit in Canada. 

  • Permanent residence. Hong Kong (SAR) residents who obtain the work permit should be able to transition to permanent residence after three years. 

  • Exemption for pre-removal risk assessment. The Canadian government added an exemption to the 12-month bar on Pre-removal Risk Assessment (PRRA), which allows eligible foreign nationals who are facing removal from Canada to remain in Canada. 


Hong Kong (SAR) residents now have an additional opportunity to remain in or enter Canada for work and residence purposes, although they may be constrained by COVID-19 travel restrictions if they are currently outside Canada. 


The establishment of this new work permit was first announced in November 2020 in response to the political unrest in Hong Kong (SAR). 

Looking ahead 

Further details of the new work permit are expected to be announced in the near future. 

The Canadian government is also planning on implementing two pathways to permanent residence for young Hong Kong (SAR) residents later in 2021. The first pathway will be for Hong Kong (SAR) residents with at least one year of work experience in Canada who meet language and education criteria. The second pathway will be for Hong Kong (SAR) residents who graduated from a post-secondary institution in Canada who will then be eligible to apply directly for permanent residence. Fragomen will provide updated information when it is available. 

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].