The first of the new streams is for applicants who have obtained a degree, diploma or graduate credential at a designated post-secondary learning institution in Canada over the last three years. They must have done at least 50 percent of their program while in Canada.

The second is for applicants who have at least one year of full-time work experience or 1,560 hours of part-time work in Canada in the last three years. Those applicants must hold a degree, diploma or graduate credential obtained from a post-secondary learning institution in or outside Canada in the last five years.

These new pathways are similar to the new pathway to permanent residency for over 90,000 essential temporary workers and international graduates announced in April.

According to the release, the applicants are still subject to Canada's regular immigration application, screening and admissibility requirements.

The federal government says it is "deeply concerned" about China's imposition of the national security law and the "deteriorating" human rights situation in Hong Kong, adding the country stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Hong Kong.

"With young Hong Kongers casting their eyes abroad," Mendicino said in a media statement, "we want them to choose Canada."

He said Canada's Hong Kong immigration pathway is a historic initiative, intended to attract talented applicants who will drive the country's economy forward — especially as Canada prepares to reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Skilled Hong Kongers will have a unique opportunity to both develop their careers and help accelerate our recovery," he says.

Mendicino announced initiatives to help Hong Kongers come to Canada in November, and the first stream opened applications in February 2021.