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Immigration Update

Canada Invites 5,000 Candidates to Apply for Permanent Residence in Yesterday’s Draw

In the largest permanent residence draw from Canada to date, on November 18th, 2020, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a new round of invitations to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system.

Yesterday’s draw invited candidates who qualify under all Express Entry categories, including the Canadian Experience Class, Provincial Nominees, Federal Skilled Trades, and the Federal Skilled Worker Class. A total of 5,000 candidates were invited to apply in yesterday’s draw. The minimum score selected was 472, a decrease of 6 points from the November 5th, 2020 draw in which the cut off score was 478.

With 5,000 candidates invited to apply, this draw is the largest we have seen yet. In October 2020, IRCC announced their 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan. The government acknowledged that although they continue to accept and process applications for permanent residence throughout the covid-19 pandemic, travel restrictions and capacity constraints have created a shortfall in admissions. To address this shortfall, the government has set a target of 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2021, and 421,000 in 2023.

The increase in the number of candidates invited in yesterday’s Express Entry draw reflects Canada’s commitment to welcoming an increased number of new permanent residents in the 2021 year.

Government of Canada Announces New Immigration Measures for Hong Kong Youth

The Canadian federal government has announced a series of new measures aimed at facilitating the immigration of students and youth from Hong Kong. These measures include new temporary and permanent immigration pathways for Hong Kong youth and students, as well as various enhancements to existing immigration programs.

Some of the key new policies and changes announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), aimed at supporting immigration to Canada by Hong Kong youths and students, include the following:

  • IRCC will be launching a new work permit program for applicants who have completed post-secondary education in the last 5 years from either inside Canada or abroad. Applicants will receive open work permits of up to three (3) years duration under this program.
  • In 2021, IRCC will be launching two new pathways for permanent residence which will allow Hong Kong residents, who possess the requisite work experience, education and language abilities, to apply directly for permanent residence. One pathway will be targeted at Hong Kong youths who possess at least one (1) year of authorized Canadian work experience. The second pathway will be aimed at applicants who have graduated from a post-secondary institution in Canada.
  • The application processing fees for temporary residents who apply to extend their stay in Canada, will be waived for Hong Kong residents.
  • Processing of applications under existing study and work permit programs will be expedited for Hong Kong youths.
  • IRCC will resume processing International Experience Canada (IEC) applications for youth from Hong Kong, which have been paused due to COVID-19.
  • Some individuals from Hong Kong will now be exempt from the 12-month bar on applying for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA), which normally applies to individuals who receive a negative decision on their refugee claims or previous PRRA applications.
  • IRCC has clarified that arrests and convictions for actions that are not considered offences in Canada, such as participating in peaceful protests, will not be grounds for criminal inadmissibility.
  • Hong Kong residents will continue to have access to Canada’s asylum system and will have their claims duly assessed by the Immigration and Refugee Board based on the individual merits and evidence of each case, and in reference to the relevant country condition information.

Together, these various immigration initiatives build on the Canadian government’s 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan and will provide new opportunities for Hong Kong residents and youths to live, study and work in Canada.