There are many options for Hong Kong residents to immigrate to Canada, to obtain Canadian citizenship and to become Canadian permanent residents
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Can Hong Kong citizens immigrate to Canada? Yes. As one of the only Hong Kong law firms with Canadian law capabilities, we are well positioned to provide immigration assistance to Hong Kong citizens looking at the possibility of moving to Canada from Hong Kong, including to work in Canada. In these Canada Hong Kong Immigration FAQs, we offer some insights on this process. If you would like more information about immigrating to Canada from Hong Kong, please contact one of our immigration lawyers.
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If you are a Hong Kong citizen but you do not have Canadian citizenship or Canadian permanent residency, you generally need a work permit to work in Canada. There are some exceptions to the requirement for a work permit. For example, business visitors from Hong Kong may be exempt from the requirement for a work permit though, as at the time of publication of this article, Covid travel restrictions impose limitations on entry to Canada for business visitors. Similarly, for example, Hong Kong citizens studying in Canada on a study permit may be eligible to engage in work in Canada subject to restrictions.
A Hong Kong citizen holding a passport issued by the Government of the Hong Kong SAR or a Hong Kong person born, naturalized or registered in Hong Kong holding a British National (Overseas) passport issued by the United Kingdom may visit Canada using an electronic travel authorization (Canadian eTA) without applying for a visa. A Canadian eTA does not give its holder the right to work or study in Canada.
Canada offers a number of different pathways for a Hong Kong citizen to apply for a work permit to work in Canada. As each pathway has different requirements as to eligibility, you may wish to get immigration assistance from one of our immigration lawyers to identify the pathway which would be most suitable for your individual circumstances.
One common pathway to work in Canada is known as the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is a Canadian immigration pathway to a Canadian work permit. Under the program, Canada issues a work permit to a foreign national where the foreign national has received a genuine job offer from a Canadian employer and certain other specified criteria are met. These criteria include the following requirements:
The proposed employer has actively engaged in a business and the job offer is consistent with the needs of the employer.
The foreign national is capable and qualified to perform the job offered.
The foreign national has obtained a positive or neutral Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in respect of the job offer. For more information on an LMIA, refer to the question “What is an LMIA” below.
Certain employers who have failed to comply with immigration laws in the past are ineligible employers.
A labour market impact assessment (LMIA) is an opinion issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). A positive or neutral LMIA is required for certain work permit applications. An LMIA assesses a number of different factors, including whether the hiring of a foreign national will result in job creation or retention for Canadians, whether the hiring will yield benefits to Canada such as the development or transfer of skills and whether the hiring will likely fill a labour shortage.
It depends on the type of work permit. Non-Canadian citizens and permanent residents generally hold an employer-specific work permit (i.e. a closed work permit). However, in some cases, non-Canadian citizens and permanent residents may be eligible for an open work permit. Unlike an employer-specific work permit, an open work permit does not limit the holder to working for a specific employer.
Some open work permits will enable the holder to work for almost any employer within a defined occupation or location. Other open work permits will enable the holder to work for almost any employer without any restriction on occupation or location.
Under a temporary public policy announced on November 12, 2020, recent Hong Kong graduates of post-secondary educational institutions and their spouses can apply for a Canadian open work permit. We provide more details about this pathway in our article entitled “How to Immigrate to Canada: A Guide for Hong Kong Residents”.
Open work permits may also be available in some other circumstances, including, for example, to holders of certain graduate degrees from Canadian designated learning institutions and certain dependants and spouses of applicants for Canadian permanent residency or holders of Canadian work or study permits. As there are many different possible pathways to an open work permit, it is advisable to seek immigration assistance to identify the most suitable pathway.
No. Canada offers a number of pathways to Canadian permanent residency which do not require a job in Canada. The Federal Skilled Worker Program and provincial nomination programs offer foreign nationals the opportunity to become Canadian permanent residents without a job in Canada or, indeed, any work experience in Canada.
However, having a job in Canada can be a positive factor when applying for Canadian permanent residency.
As there are many different possible pathways to Canadian permanent residency, it is advisable to seek immigration assistance to identify the most suitable pathway
Yes, Canada offers a number of different pathways to leverage work experience in Canada into permanent residency. As each pathway has different requirements as to eligibility, you may wish to speak to one of our immigration lawyers to identify the pathway which would be most suitable for your individual circumstances.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is a Canadian immigration pathway to Canadian permanent residency open to foreign nationals with work experience in prescribed management, professional or technical occupations, who meet minimum language and education requirements, who intend to reside outside Quebec and who demonstrate the ability to become economically established in Canada.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program normally uses a scoring system to determine if a foreign national has the ability to become economically established in Canada. This scoring system looks to factors including the foreign national’s education, language proficiency, work experience and age.
A foreign national who meets the threshold criteria for the Federal Skilled Worker Program is eligible to submit an expression of interest in applying for permanent residency through the Express Entry System. We provide details of the Express Entry System in our article entitled “How to Immigrate to Canada: A Guide for Hong Kong Residents”. In essence, the Express Entry System scores the foreign national on a Comprehensive Ranking System and issues invitations to apply for permanent residency based on the highest scores.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program is open to skilled workers whether or not they are working in Canada. However, Canadian work experience is a positive factor which can assist not only with meeting minimum qualifications to become eligible to apply under the program but also with acquiring points under the Comprehensive Ranking System.
The Canadian Experience Class Program is a Canadian immigration pathway to Canadian permanent residency available to foreign nationals with prior work experience in Canada who demonstrate an ability to become economically established in Canada, who meet minimum language requirements and who intend to reside outside of Quebec.
As with the Federal Skilled Worker Program, a foreign national who meets eligibility requirements under the Canadian Experience Class Program must submit an expression of interest in applying for permanent residency through the Express Entry System. The Express Entry System will score the foreign national on a Comprehensive Ranking System and issue invitations to apply for permanent residency based on the highest scores.
The amount of money needed to immigrate to Canada will depend upon a number of factors. One factor is the pathway chosen to immigrate.
For example, if you are applying for Canadian permanent residency based on the British Columbia Provincial Entrepreneurship Program, you will need to show personal net worth of at least CDN600,000.
However, for example, if you are applying for Canadian permanent residency under the Federal Skilled Worker Program and you do not have a job in Canada, you will need to show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family (including your spouse and your children) even if those family members are not joining you in Canada. The minimum funds in this case will depend on the number of family members. In the case of an applicant with no family members, the minimum funds is CDN12,960 in the case of a couple, the minimum funds is CDN16,135. For a family of 4, the minimum funds is CDN24,083.
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