Canada Program to Welcome Young Hong Kongers Starts Next Week

Canada’s special program to allow young Hong Kong graduates to work and become permanent residents will start next week as relations with China have deteriorated.

First announced in November, applications can start on Feb. 8 for a three-year, open-ended work visa for Hong Kong residents who earned a post-secondary degree in the last five years, the government said Thursday. A faster path for permanent residence is being implemented and will be available later this year.

Hong Kong is the latest flashpoint in Canada-China relations that have been fraught since the 2018 arrest of a top Huawei Technologies Co. executive in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition request. More recently, Justin Trudeau’s government condemned Beijing’s decision to allow the disqualification of lawmakers it deems insufficiently loyal from the territory’s legislature.

“With flexible open work permits and a fast-track to permanent residency, skilled Hong Kong residents will have a unique opportunity to develop their careers and help accelerate Canada’s economic recovery,” Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said in a statement. “This is a landmark immigration initiative which will strengthen our economy.”

Hong Kong residents will be able to apply for the visas from within Canada or from abroad.

Later this year, Canada will ease permanent residence requirements for Hong Kongers who graduate from Canadian universities or have one year of work experience in the country.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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