The new immigration pathway of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for Hong Kong residents has received roughly 6,000 applications over the three months since its launch, said a spokesman for the Immigration Ministry of Canada on Thursday.
In November, the Canadian government said it would make it easier for British students to study and work in Canada as a result of a new security law imposed by China on the British colony.
Under the new visa rules, any Hong Kong resident who has graduated from a Canadian university in the last five years can apply to work for up to three years. Those with equivalent foreign credentials are also eligible.
This initiative, the first of three to target young Hong Kong residents, was started on Feb 8 and received 5,727 applications as of May 18, said the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada press secretary Alexander Cohen in an email.
The programme had received 503 applications in the first three weeks of the launch. The ties that bind Canada and Hong Kong run deep Cohen added that we want young Hong Kongers who are taking their eyes overseas; with them we want them to choose Canada.
Canada is a third home for many Hong Kong residents after their families moved to the Vancouver and Toronto regions before the British colony independence from China in 1997.
After gaining Canadian citizenship, many returned to Hong Kong, which is now home to approximately 300,000 Canadians - one of the largest Canadian communities abroad.
As China imposed a sweeping national security law in Canada after mass protests last year, residents of Hong Kong moved tens of billions of dollars across the globe to Canada, where thousands are hoping for a new future.