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Canada expands temporary work permit program for Hong Kong residents


A man walks past New Hong Kong Supermarket in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada on January 26, 2021. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

The Canadian government is broadening the criteria for Hong Kong residents to apply to work in Canada through a temporary work permit program that was introduced after China imposed new security rules on the former British colony in 2020, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said on Monday.

Hong Kong residents who have graduated from a post-secondary learning institution within the past 10 years can now apply to work in Canada, from an earlier limit of five years after graduation. The program, which was due to expire on Tuesday, was also extended until Feb. 7, 2025.

Canada depends on immigration to drive its economy and support an aging population, and Fraser said expanding the work permit program for Hong Kong residents was a “win-win” for both parties.

“It gives Hong Kong residents more opportunity to gain work experience here in Canada, but it also allows us to support the Canadian economy by bringing workers at a time when they’re needed most,” Fraser said.

The program also allows Hong Kong residents with Canadian work experience or education to apply for permanent residency.

Ottawa set up the immigration program two years ago after China imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, outlawing a wide range of political activities and effectively putting an end to public protests.

Western governments have criticized the law as a tool to crush dissent, a charge China denies. More than 230 people have been arrested since the law was imposed. On Monday, the much-anticipated trial of 16 Hong Kong democracy activists charged under that national security law began.