On Friday (April 17), a spokesman for Canada’s immigration ministry said Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s unique immigration initiative for Hong Kong residents received over five hundred applications in its first three weeks.
The Canadian government said in November that it would make it easier for Hong Kong youth to work and study in the country in response to new security regulations imposed by China on the former British colony.
Alexander Cohen, Press Secretary, said in an emailed statement that the program was open in the first three weeks, February 8 to February 28; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada received 503 applications for work permits and ten applications for work permits extensions.
The statement added that Canada shares the grave concerns of the international community over China’s National Security Legislation and powerfully supports the right to pacific protest, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression.
About 0.3 million Canadian passport holders live in the city
In February, Canada said that Hong Kong graduates of Canadian universities could apply for a new category of 3-year work permit from that month.
In late June 2020, China imposed a new National Security Law in Hong Kong, intended at anything Beijing regards as subversion or secession. Nearly 0.3M Canadian passport holders live in the city.
The government stated that Ottawa continues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Hong Kong people and is profoundly concerned about the new National Security Law and the deteriorating human rights circumstances.
As Beijing imposed the sweeping Security Law, the city residents moved billions of dollars across the globe to the country, where thousands were aspiring to forge a new future.
Last year, capital flows out of Hong Kong banks reaching Canada raised to their highest levels on record, with about C$43.6B or US$34.87B in electronic funds transfers recorded by Canada’s anti-money-laundering agency FINTRAC, which receives reports on transfers above C$10000.
The Hong Kong administration said the city hadn’t seen significant capital outflows since the anti-government unrest began in 2019.
Canada is a second home for many residents of Hong Kong after their families moved to Toronto and the Vancouver areas ahead of the British handover of its former colony to China in 1997. Moreover, after obtaining Canadian citizenship, many turned to Hong Kong, which is now home to about 0.3 million Canadians.
Canadian visa applications from Hong Kong, excluding visitors’ visas, rose 10 percent to 8121 last year.