Hong Kong SAR

Work Permits: HKSAR and BNO passport holders


uring the COVID-19 pandemic, some countries slashed their immigration quotas. Canada did not alter its goal to bring in the world’s brightest and the best, reunite family members, invite entrepreneurs who excel in what they do, and welcome young, ambitious, educated and progressive thinking individuals. Canada is on track to fulfill its goal of bringing in 1.45 million permanent residents by the end of 2025.There are programs and initiatives throughout Canada’s provinces and territories in addition to federally-run programs.

The Government of Canada is in the third year of implementing a temporary public policy to help Hong Kong holders of HKSAR (issued by the Peoples’ Republic of China) and United Kingdom issued BNO passports to come to Canada under a three-year work permit, without the need for a job offer.

In an announcement by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship, Canada (IRCC) Minister Sean Fraser on February 6, 2023, Hong Kong residents who have graduated from a Canadian Institution, or hold a foreign credential in a post secondary program of at least two years, within the past ten years, are eligible to apply for an open work permit of up to three years. This initiative, which initially came into force on Monday, February 8th, 2021 has now been extended until February 7, 2025.

We have assembled and organized comprehensive information on this web site. Take some time to explore it. Upper Canada Immigration Consultants is a reputable and effective firm. We don’t take every case that comes to us. Tell us about your situation, and let us assess your chances through various pathways.

Outside Canada

If you hold an HKSAR or BNO passport, are outside Canada and would like to apply for this three-year work permit, we urge you to contact us. The application process is streamlined and specific for Hong Kongers. There is no room for errors or omissions. Processing of applications through this stream is expedited, with an estimated turnaround time of approximately 13 weeks.

Retaining our services to assist you will provide peace of mind, as we help you to make fee payments, gather required documents and prepare your submission. We also provide you with advice and guidance for your arrival in Canada.

Inside Canada

Holders of HKSAR and BNO passports who are already in Canada on a temporary basis, be they students, visitors or temporary foreign workers, are eligible to apply for this three-year work permit from within Canada. A temporary public policy which was currently in force because of the pandemic, allowing such applications to be submitted from within Canada, has now been extended until the end of February 2023.

Ordinarily, work permit applications must be submitted from outside Canada. Because of the temporary public policy, Hong Kongers who may not have graduated within the last ten years (and are not eligible for the special initiative) can apply for an employer-specific work permit from within Canada, provided they have a valid job offer, and maintain legal status while their application is processing. We can help your potential employer obtain an LMIA, and you to maintain legal status and submit your work permit application.

If you don’t have the BNO passport

The United Kingdom, as of July 1, 2020, announced it would extend an offer to nearly three million eligible Hong Kong residents holding the British National Overseas (BNO) passport, to emigrate to the UK. If you have such a passport, you may gain a path to get to the UK, and eventually qualify for UK citizenship. If you don’t have such an option, don’t despair. You may yet qualify to come to Canada permanently. See the scenarios in the tab below, and contact us.

Open work permit for Hong Kong residents

As of February 8, 2021, the Canadian government implemented a public policy to grant open work permits for up to three years to Hong Kong residents who are recent graduates. The eligibility criteria are geared toward those who have graduated within the immediate past ten years from when their application is submitted, and hold either a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passport or a British National Overseas (BNO) passport.

Graduates can be either from a designated Canadian learning institution or a foreign institution and must hold either a university degree or a post secondary two-year diploma. For holders of an education credential from a non-Canadian institution, an Education Credential Assessment Report from a designated institution is also required.

Eligible family members may also apply for work permits along with the principal applicant.

Pathway to Permanent Residence

Work permit holders who have acquired one full year of Canadian work experience are  eligible to apply for permanent residence. Their family members are also eligible for permanent residence  under the principal applicant’s submission.  These applications which entail providing personal information, family background information and evidence to substantiate, are submitted online. There is a combination of  complex forms that must be completed and uploaded, and forms that are on line that must be populated and submitted. Medical examinations and security clearance certificates for certain family members are also required. It is highly recommended that you seek help in getting your documents prepared and submitted. We will be happy to help you. Contact  us.

HK candidates for other Immigration Streams

If you have not graduated from a postsecondary school within the last ten years, there may be another opportunity for you. Here are some common immigration scenarios. This list is not exhaustive and your personal situation may differ. Self-assess your situation by considering these common scenarios:

  • Are you a citizen or a permanent resident of Canada with a family member in Hong Kong who is not? (Spouse or children)?
  • Are you a young professional under the age of 31 with postsecondary education, three years of work experience, good English Language skills and settlement funds?
  • Are you a skilled professional who once studied or worked in Canada?
  • Are you a current business owner who has a great business idea, postsecondary education, funds to invest in Canada and fair to good English Language skills?
  • Do you have postsecondary education, English language skills, funds to invest and currently hold a senior managerial position in a private business or a government department?
  • Do you have no connection to Canada, and you have two (or more) post-secondary certificates (or diplomas or academic degrees), and you have sufficient settlement funds, and your English language skills are good, and you have three or more years of skilled work experience, you might be a strong candidate to come to Canada. Talk with us;
  • Are you currently in Canada, married to a Canadian permanent resident or a citizen and you have not yet applied for Canadian permanent residence?
  • Do you have at least one year of living in a common-law relationship with your partner who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident?
  • Do you want to study in Canada?
  • Do you want your children to study in Canada?

Canada has long been recognized as a country that welcomes immigrants, and enables them to settle, integrate and succeed. Work permit holders in Canada are entitled to certain services and benefits such as health care coverage. Canada has a large and well-established community of former Hong Kong citizens in every major city and town. There are numerous Chinese business associations, charitable organizations and cultural and social clubs all over Canada.

Contacting us from Hong Kong

The best way to reach us is by e-mail. You can also call us or text-message us by telephone or WhatsApp at 1-647-988-3846, bearing in mind that there is a 12-hour time difference between Ontario and Hong Kong. If your call or text-message is after hours, we’ll respond to you the next day. Leave a text message if you wish. In the meantime, get your essential documents together and plan to come to Canada.