Canada-Hong Kong Link, Vancouver Society for Support of Democratic Movement, Saskatchewan Stands with Hong Kong, and Vancouver Hong Kong Forum Society welcome the announcement from the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada (IRCC) to remove the education requirement under the Canadian work experience stream (Stream B) of the Hong Kong permanent residence pathways. By removing the education requirement in Stream B and the expansion of OWP for Hong Kong residents, all Hong Kong residents who have graduated within the past 10 years from a post-secondary institution can now apply for permanent residence after working for 1560 hours in one year.
We and other Hongkonger groups have advocated for the streamlining of the eligibility in Stream B, following IRCC’s announcement regarding Open Work Permits (OWP) for Hong Kong residents on February 7, 2023. In mid-February, we met with policymakers in Ottawa to discuss migration and other policy issues related to Hong Kong. We are delighted that the Canadian government recognizes our advocacy effort and the necessity to protect Hongkongers from increasingly totalitarian rule as Communist China encroaches on Hong Kong. We believe the policy changes this year will help to attract and facilitate more Hongkongers to apply for immigration to Canada. Hongkongers who share the same core values as Canadians will bring in skill sets and international experience required for the economy and development of the social fabric.
However, barriers to the application of Open Work Permits, Study Permits, and Stream A and B still exist. The two most notable barriers are the Hong Kong Police Force refusing to issue police certificates and the “criminal records” of protesters. Since 2019, Hong Kong has become a police state. We would hope IRCC will recognize that the prosecution of crimes such as riots, unlawful assembly, money laundering, and sedition were used politically and arbitrarily by the Hong Kong Government. Applications of aforementioned permits and PR pathways should be accepted when the applicant cannot provide a police certificate and these “crimes” are involved. We and our Hong Kong Canadian allies will continue to advocate for IRCC to eliminate unnecessary barriers to Hongkongers’ immigration to Canada and to consider a continuation of the Lifeboat Program beyond 2026.
Finally, we would like to point out that the much welcome announcement today was unfortunately held at a venue operated by an organization that has long been accused of having a close relationship with the Chinese Communist Party and being led by figures supporting the suppression of democratic movements by the Hong Kong Government and the Hong Kong Police Force. We regret the poor choice of venue, although we welcome the generous support of the Canadian Government.