Canada Extends and Expands Open Work Permit Program for Hong Kong Residents

On February 6, 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that they are extending and expanding the open work permit program for eligible Hong Kong residents at a time when Canadian employers are in desperate need of skilled workers.

Canada is extending the deadline for Hong Kong residents to apply for an open work permit through to February 7, 2025. In addition to the main applicant being able to work, spouses or common law partners and dependent children are able to obtain a study or work permit.


Who is Eligible to Apply:

  • Applicants with a valid passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or the United Kingdom to a British National Overseas
    • Your work permit will be valid for up to 3 years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
    • For example, if your passport is valid for 6 months, then you will be issued an open work permit for 6 months.
    • To maximize the duration of the open work permit, make sure your passport is valid for at least 3 years from the date of approval.


  • meet the education requirements for post-secondary, graduate or post-graduate studies (see below for details)


Education Requirements

As of February 8, 2023, Canada has expanded eligibility to Hong Kong residents who have graduated within the past 10 years from a post-secondary learning institution in Canada or abroad. This means that more Hong Kongers can pursue their career goals and gain valuable work experience in Canada for up to 3 years. Under the previous temporary policy, applicants had to have graduated within the past 5 years.


In addition, applicants must have one of the following:

  • a degree (for example, associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral) from a designated post-secondary learning institution in Canada or an institution abroad (educational credential assessment not required for those with a degree at the time of application, but may be requested later by the reviewing officers; however, diploma holders must provide one)
  • a diploma from a program of at least 2 years from a designated post-secondary learning institution in Canada or an institution abroad
  • a graduate or post-graduate credential
    • from a program of at least 1 year
    • that required the completion of a post-secondary degree or diploma, as a prerequisite for acceptance into the program
      • you must have received the post-secondary degree or diploma no more than 5 years before you started the graduate/post-graduate program
    • from one of the following:

Pathways to Permanent Residence for Hong Kongers

In addition, to the temporary work permit, Canada has also established 2 pathways to permanent residence for eligible Hong Kong applicants and their families. Stream A is for In Canadian graduates and Stream B is for applicants with Canadian work experience. These policies will remain effect from June 1, 2021, to August 31, 2026. Under both of these permanent streams, applicants must have valid temporary resident status in Canada and physically present in Canada when they apply.


This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact us via email at for further information.