Trudeau Visa Lures Nearly 6,000 Hong Kongers Amid China Feud

Nearly 6,000 Hong Kong residents have applied for a new Canadian special visa program that began taking applications in February, in what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is calling a “strong uptake.”

Canada has received 5,727 applications as of May 18, according to data released Thursday by the immigration department. That represents an acceleration in recent weeks to a program that began on Feb. 8, according to Alexander Cohen, a spokesman for Industry Minister Marco Mendicino. The country received just 524 applications in February.

“We are very encouraged with this strong uptake, and look forward to welcoming more newcomers under this innovative pathway for newcomers from Hong Kong with so much to offer Canada,” Cohen said by email.

Trudeau Visa Lures Nearly 6,000 Hong Kongers Amid China Feud

Mendicino unveiled the new immigration measures in November after China’s crackdown on pro-democracy lawmakers and protesters in the former British colony last year. The program is open to young, educated Hong Kongers, providing a three-year open work permit. It also shortens the time period to apply for permanent residency to one year.

Hong Kong is already home to around 300,000 Canadian citizens.

Canada’s relations with China have hit their lowest point since diplomatic ties were established five decades ago. Two Canadians accused of spying were put on trial in March after more than two years behind bars. The pair was locked up by Beijing shortly after the December 2018 arrest of a top Huawei Technologies Co. executive in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition request.

Meng Wanzhou, the state-championed technology giant’s chief financial officer and eldest daughter of its billionaire founder, is set to resume her extradition fight at the British Columbia Supreme Court in August.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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