Canada: New Work Permit Available for Hong Kong (SAR) Residents and BN(O) Passport Holders

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key Points

  • Hong Kong (SAR) residents and BN(O) passport holders may apply for a new work permit
  • The new permit allows qualified applicants to live and work in Canada for up to three years
  • Hong Kong (SAR) applicants must have received a Canada post-secondary diploma or foreign equivalent in the past five years
  • Dependents are eligible to apply for a work study permit in Canada
  • Permit holders are exempt from a 12-month pre-removal risk assessment that requires leaving Canada
  • Applicants should note that COVID-19 travel restrictions may affect their ability to enter Canada


Eligible Hong Kong special administrative region (SAR) residents and British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) passport holders may now apply for a new work permit to live and work and Canada. 

What are the Changes? 

Qualified Hong Kong SAR residents and BN(O) passport holders can now apply for a work permit that allows them to live and work in Canada up to three years. The program provides them with another route to residency and work eligibility in Canada. 

To be eligible for the work permit, Hong Kong (SAR) residents must have received a Canadian post-secondary diploma within the past five years or the foreign equivalent. Dependents, including children and common law partners or spouses, may apply for a study or work permit in Canada. 

What Should Employers and Applicants Know? 

The new work permit has a validity of three years. It is an open permit, which means that permit holders can change employers in Canada while their work permit remains valid. 

Hong Kong (SAR) residents are eligible for permanent residency after three years from the date that their work permit is issued. 

Applicants should also note that the Canadian government has created an exemption in the work permit for the 12-month pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) that allows eligible foreign nationals to remain in Canada if they are otherwise facing removal. 

Looking Ahead 

Hong Kong (SAR) and BN(O) applicants should note that existing COVID-19 travel restrictions may impact their ability to enter Canada, even if they are accepted into the work permit program. 

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.