Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, wearing a protective face mask, attends a news conference, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada March 5, 2021 Photograph:( Reuters )
In November, the Canadian government had said that it would make it easier for people from Hong Kong to work and study in Canada after China imposed fresh security rules in the semi-autonomous territory
Canada’s special immigration programme for residents of Hong Kong has received over 500 applications in just three weeks.
The initiative was heralded by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In November, the Canadian government had said that it would make it easier for people from Hong Kong to work and study in Canada after China imposed fresh security rules in the semi-autonomous territory.
The numbers for the programme were revealed by Canada’s immigration ministry.
"In the first three weeks that the program was open (Feb. 8 to Feb. 28), IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) received 503 applications for work permits and 10 applications for work permit extensions," press secretary Alexander Cohen was cited as saying in an emailed statement by Reuters.
"Canada shares the grave concerns of the international community over China's National Security Legislation and strongly supports the right to peaceful protest, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly", the statement added.
In February, Canada said that Hong Kong graduates from Canadian universities are eligible to apply for a new category of a three-year work permit.
In June 2020, China imposed a new national security law in Hong Kong to limit anything that qualifies as “subversion, terrorism, and secession”. While China imposed the new law, many residents of the city reportedly moved billions of dollars to Canada.
Last year, capital flowing out of Hong Kong banks into Canada rose to high levels with over $34.87 billion in electronic funds transfers, which lodged by FINTRAC - Canada’s anti-money-laundering agency.
In 2020, Canadian visa applications from Hong Kong, not including visitors’ visas increased by 10 per cent to 8,121 in 2020.