Even if you have no Canadian work experience, you can still immigrate to Canada from Hong Kong. There are a variety of immigration options, and any experience, including foreign work experience, is accepted. This is true as long as you have good credentials, enough education in the field, and enough will to deal with some paperwork and waiting times. Immigrating to Canada from Hong Kong can be a lot to handle, so let’s dive right in. 

When it comes to how Hong Kongers can immigrate to Canada, once you have chosen your desired immigration program, ensure you pass the eligibility criteria. Then, download the checklist unique to your immigration stream and collect all the documents. Within months from your application date, if you pass the sorting criteria, you will receive an Invitation to Apply. The entire process of moving to Canada is as simple as this. Let’s break it down into more details

Ways How To Move to Canada From Hong Kong

There are many immigration sources online. However, there are some that are scams and you should be careful with them. When it comes to official programs, the Canadian government immigration system is always clear and transparent and makes no wild promises – nobody can guarantee you a Canadian visa, regardless of your education status and available funds. 

So, how to apply: work in Canada from Hong Kong is available to all, but you must first meet some requirements. The streamlined immigration process offered by this county has clear prerequisites, and every program has its own. Currently, the best way for young people to immigrate or get enough experience to do so later on in life is by asking for a study permit. For all else, there is the Express Entry program. Let’s go and consider several of these programs. 

Permanent Residence Program

When it comes to permanent residence programs, they have higher eligibility criteria than temporary residence visas. The thing is that a temporary visitor visa may only be issued for a short period of time and you may only need to provide proof of funds and the itinerary of your trip. When it comes to permanent residence, Canada has to impose stricter conditions under which you will be issued your permanent residence – as you will be settling in the country after all. There are many permanent residence programs, but each demand has been spent (and worked) in Canada for some time for principal applicants. Family members and sponsored arrivals may not need to have done so. 

IRCC Hong Kong Priority

The IRCC Hong Kong Priority is a special priority program that allows Hong Kong citizens residing in Canada to get Canadian citizenship with a priority status. This program is applicable to all eligible applicants and their families, and the shorter processing time can benefit all interested in staying in Canada. There are two streams that can help you get citizenship: the In-Canada Graduates Stream and the Canadian Work Experience Stream. The program is valid from June 1, 2021 to August 31, 2026. 

Express Entry

The Express Entry program is a program designed for those who need a fast way to immigrate to Canada. If you have postsecondary or even post-secondary education, you are very likely to be accepted, and so are all those who have at least some work experience in Canada. This program entails three basic streams: 

  • The Canadian Experience Class Program (CEC)
  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW)
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST)

Besides these three programs, Express Entry will also make your application available to different Provincial Nomination Programs and will keep all your data for up to a year. 

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)

As Canada is comprised of ten provinces and three territories, it is useful to know that each province has immigration programs of its own. These programs are aimed at those that the province needs the most, and you will usually need work experience to obtain eligibility-meeting status. Besides this, these programs usually cost less than the Express Entry, but their biggest downside is that your application will only be available for a short period of time (usually one draw cycle, and only the province you have applied with).

Family Sponsorship

Yet another program allows a family member to sponsor your application. This means that a family member will be paying the processing fees and will guarantee, with their own funds, that you can be supported while in Canada. These programs allow you to sponsor or be sponsored by (irrelevant of the adoption status): 

  • your grandparents 
  • your parents 
  • your siblings 
  • your spouse or a common-law partner 
  • your children 
  • your grandchildren 

Study Permit

For all those who are younger and are pursuing private or public education in Canada, a study experience there could be a big motivator to immigrate, at least temporarily. This is enabled with a study permit. What you will need to apply is a letter of acceptance from a secondary education institution, proof of funds, and proof of payment of the first school year tuition fees. 

With this in mind, your university or college education could be a great opportunity to gain valuable experience in a workplace as well: the permit allows you to work both on and off campus for up to 20 hours a week during sessions and full-time during planned school breaks. This experience can be used for networking and even for a job offer post-studies, offering you a good chance to stay in Canada if you prove yourself a good student and a smart worker. 

Work Permit

However, if you already have secondary education and would like to join Federal immigration programs with the aim of working only, there are other permit possibilities. A work permit is a temporary document that allows you to work in Canada, usually for a set period. When it comes to these documents, it may be necessary to apply for them separately from your other immigration program. 

However, some programs, such as the business immigration program or the economic immigration programs, usually include work permits and allow you to work with some employers and some types of work. When it comes to high-skilled or management positions, you must apply through separate federal skilled trades programs outlined under Express Entry above. Here, you will have to use the NOC TEER job categorization to ensure you apply through the best program for you. 

International Experience Class (IEC)

Hong Kong and Canada have signed the Working Holiday Agreement. Under this program if you have appropriate education levels and are between 18 and 30 years old, you can apply for this program. This short-term work application allows you to come to Canada and work with any employer – and even switch employers in case you want to seek another job. This is a very popular program, and you may have to plan ahead, as an annual quota fills up fast. 

Business or Investment Immigration Programs

Business or investment immigration programs have been designed for all those who have started a company or entrepreneurship in their home country and would like to migrate this business to Canada or start another job in Canada. These programs usually do not ask for proof of education, but you must display your business plan and procedures or protocols when applying for the Start-up Visa (SUV) program. 

Unlike study visas and work permits, these programs mean you need significant funds to immigrate to Canada. Sometimes, upwards of CAD400,000 is needed. These programs also allow you to take your family with you and get a permanent resident visa. 

Open Work Permit Program

An open work permit program for Hong Kong residents gives a ‘blanco’ work permit to those who would like to migrate to Canada. These work permits mean that you can work for any employer and potentially even start your own business. These work permits are available to Hong Kong residents as a part of Canada’s special immigration pathways for Hong Kong residents. 

How to Apply for Permanent Residency Programs in Canada?

Migrating to Canada from Hong Kong is not difficult, but it takes some time. First of all, you will need to make an online application. Before 2023, it was possible to do so on paper as well, but online applications are faster and provide more comfort. If you cannot apply online for a variety of reasons and have no one to assist you, you could also ask for a paper application. The same goes for those who may have issues with their sight. 

Hong Kong pathway stream processing time differs from one draw cycle to another. For this reason, it is necessary to always have all your documents ready. Any skipped or missed documents can add weeks to your processing time, which is not desirable – eligible applicants may be rejected simply because other applicant profiles already took up all the available spots. 

Once you have gathered all the documents outlined in the Document Checklist (IMM 0134), it is time to enter their details online. You can do that by downloading the following documents, filling them out on your computer, and sending them back online: 

  • IMM 0008 – Generic Application Form For Canada
  • IMM 5669 – Schedule A – Background/Declaration 
  • IMM 5406 – Additional Family Information 
  • IMM 5562 – Your Travel Information
  • IMM 0135 – Schedule 7A – ONLY for those who have graduated in Canada 
  • IMM 0136 – Schedule 7B – ONLY for those who have Canadian work experience and are applying through the Canadian Work Experience stream 
  • IMM 5476 – Use of Representative – ONLY if you have someone submitting the application on your behalf
  • IMM 5475 – Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual – ONLY if you want your application information to be sent to someone other than yourself
immigration direct cad

Finish Your Application

When submitting the documents online, it is important to understand that, while other people can fill out the forms for you, you, even with assistance, must type in your name to officially sign the document. It is always principal applicants that have to do this. Before you hit the ‘submit’ button, revise the details again: a small error on your side could delay the process and prompt you to reenter the details. 

Make Your Payment

The immigration cost to Canada is not high, but it is not free either. In general, there will be two types of fees that you are expected to pay: the biometrics fee and the processing fee. The biometrics fee is a flat CAD85 fee that is paid a single time before your biometrics (your fingerprints and a digital photo of your face) are taken. The processing fee must be paid before your documents are processed. 

With the Express Entry program, for example, the processing fee has to be paid only after you get an Invitation to Apply (ITA). When preparing the funds for these payments, make sure to call around and ask how much you have to pay for all the supporting documents as well – these can cost upwards of CAD100 a piece, and you pay them in your own country. In general, the medical examination and the language tests cost the most. 

Send Your Application In

Once you have submitted all the documents and have paid all the fees (you will need a debit or a credit card for this), it is time to send the application. Ensure time and patience, as processing generally takes several weeks to several months. While some permits, such as study permits, can take just around 20 days of processing time, the Express Entry program, the fastest economic immigration program, takes around six months of processing time before you are considered eligible to immigrate to Canada. 

How To Transition To Permanent Residency?

If you wish to immigrate to Canada permanently, you will need to ask for a permanent residency. If you are already in Canada, there are ways to extend or switch to a PR (Permanent Resident) status from your current status. This applies to temporary workers and students. 

With Temporary Work Permits

Suppose you are in Canada as a temporary worker. In that case, you should keep extending your work permit as long as possible until you meet the quota to apply as other skilled individuals do – at least a year or three years of full-time work experience in your field in the five or ten years preceding the application, depending on the program you are applying for. If you are already in Canada, this will be three years within the five years preceding the application itself.

With International Students

To get a permanent residency, as a student, you will first need to finish your studies and then start looking for a valid job offer. An eligible business should be able to provide you with a work contract or a job offer that is at least a year long, and that will keep you employed full-time and in an approved workplace. For this, the business owner/person in charge must apply for an LMIA.

How Does Direct Skilled Worker Application Work?

When Hong Kong’s residents apply for immigration to Canada, the best way to do so is through the Express Entry program. This program allows your application to remain valid for up to a year, and it allows your application to be visible in other immigration programs as well. Talented individuals are invited to submit their details, and only if they qualify will they be asked to submit their documents and pay the processing and biometrics fee. 

There are three basic streams under this program: 

The program also allows your profile to be visible for some PNP programs. Under the Express Entry, you do not need a valid job offer, although this helps a lot. The draws are made periodically, usually every two weeks and your profile can be reassessed in every single draw cycle. You are graded based on education, work experience, language proficiency, and age criteria. 

What Is a Start-Up Visa Program?

On the other hand, top-scoring candidates have one more way to enter Canada, and that is through a start-up visa. This type of visa needs a separate application and is issued only to the owners of a qualifying business or those who would like to start one in Canada. Your business is assessed and it should: 

  • be based in Canada, or at least a portion of it
  • allow the applicants to be actively involved in running the business
  • the business must be incorporated into Canada

The start-up visa program does not allow you to settle in Quebec, and it also does not allow you to get a permanent residency right away. After a year spent in Canada, you will be able to apply for a permanent residency, but only if the business is successful and still passes the above points. Other eligibility requirements still apply. 

Check Out Moving to Canada on a Startup Visa Program | Canada PR Investor Visa | Entrepreneur Visa Process:

How Much Does It Cost To Immigrate From Hong Kong to Canada?

When it comes to the total costs associated with moving to Canada, there are many possibilities for citizens of Hong Kong to apply to different programs and pay more or less. However, there will always be costs, such as the processing fee and the biometrics fee, that have to be paid with almost any program. Some PNP programs are exempt from this rule. 

On your way to Canada permanent residency, you should also understand that there are other costs. Basic documents and supporting documents needed for the application process apply to all Hong Kong national candidates. With this in mind, how much you will pay for both you and eligible family members for health checkups, eligible diploma nostrification, police verification, and confirmations of having sufficient funds to support yourself either as a job-hunter or a full-time student will all cost. 

In general, the biometrics fee will cost around CAD85. The processing fee costs anywhere between CAD0 to CAD850. The Right of Permanent Residence Fee costs CAD515. Yet another cost to consider is the Educational Credential Assessment which will set you CAD300 back. In addition to this, you will need proof of funds – CAD13,213 for a single person, CAD16,500 for a couple, and CAD24,000 for a family of four. 

How To Get a Priority Processing?

There is no way to pay for faster processing. However, there are ways to become eligible for a faster processing time, but only if one or more of the conditions below are met. Here are the eligibility criteria for faster processing time by the Canada IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada): 

  • any application received online after June 12, 2017
  • application for a work permit that has been submitted outside of Canada
  • application for a temporary residence accompanying the above work permit application
  • application for an eTA (electronic Travel Authorization) accompanying the above work permit application
  • a work permit or a study permit for a family member of a person who has already submitted their application for a work permit and has passed the eligibility requirements 


What Is a Good Salary in Canada?

The average salary in Canada is CAD44,700 per year, so anything above this would be considered good. Of course, your level of education, the education requirement for your job position, and your existing Canadian experience should all be considered. In general, the minimum wage is CAD16.55, so this is the minimum under which you should not accept a job offer, and you even risk not getting a new visa or permanent residence. 

Who Can Sponsor Me in Canada?

Foreign nationals looking to immigrate to Canada can start an application process for sponsorship by citizens or permanent residents already in Canada. Canadian immigration programmes say that you can be sponsored by a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, son or daughter, grandchildren, parents, and grandparents, even in an adoption case. 

Which Is the Easiest Province to Immigrate to Canada?

There is no single easiest province to immigrate to, as immigration authorities in all provinces ensure that only the best applicants are selected. However, among the immigration pathways, the Express Entry program is the fastest and offers immigration status with the least hassle. British Columbia is the most popular choice among the provinces you can immigrate to. 

How Many Times Can You Visit Canada in A Year?

Depending on the visa you have been issued, you can enter Canada either once or multiple times. When getting a visa, especially a visitor visa, you should always check the validity period (between several months and ten years) and the number of entrances. They will either be labelled as single-entry or multiple-entry visas. 

Final Thoughts

If you are from Hong Kong and would like to change your status in Canada to permanent or to migrate to Canada permanently, you should understand that there are ways to do so, and in a period of time as short as six months. The Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker and PNP programs are all there for you, and so are many less popular programs. With this in mind, you should follow our basic guide to learn how to migrate to Canada permanently.