Hong Kong

​​​​Key messages

  • The IRB makes an independent assessment of country and claim types that may be eligible, and updates that assessment regularly based on the Board’s continual monitoring of conditions in refugee source countries. The IRB’s monitoring includes conditions related to human rights, political activity and legal systems, as they can evolve quickly. 
  • Certain country and claim types, such as Hong Kong claims, may be eligible for processing as a “less complex claim.”
  • Asylum claims from Hong Kong are currently being triaged as potentially less complex claims by the IRB, however this does not provide any indication that all claims will be decided upon without a full hearing nor that they will be granted a positive decision.

If pressed on if the IRB is prioritizing claims from Hong Kong

  • Under IRPA, scheduling of files is informed by principles of, fairness, efficiency, integrity, and institutional independence.
  • I can assure committee members that all refugee claims from Hong Kong are currently being actively examined.
  • We have identified them for triage as part of our less complex claims task force, which means, based on country conditions, we are examining these claims to see if they can be resolved without a hearing or through a shorter hearing if there are only 1 or 2 key determinative issues to be resolved.  That said, if there are more complicated questions of credibility or identity, then such cases will not be able to be addressed as a less complex claim.
  • Hong Kong refugee cases currently represent a very small number of our overall claims inventory.

If pressed on how many asylum and refugee claims have been granted since January 1, 2019, to those who were previously living in Hong Kong

  • IRB does not confirm number of cases approved or dismissed when the numbers are considered small, for privacy and security reasons.
  • This is not only to respect the privacy rights of such persons – including our responsibility to safeguard such information – but also and especially in the case of persons seeking refugee protection, to mitigate any risks to that person, noting that they are seeking legal and physical protection and may be fleeing agents of persecution from their country of origin.


  • HK Claims:
    • In pending inventory: 29
    • ​Total decisions issued: “redacted”
  • ​On November 12, 2020, The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced immigration measures supporting Hong Kong residents and Canadians in Hong Kong  (Link​).
  • These measures will allow for:
    • eligible Hong Kong residents in Canada or abroad with recently completed post-secondary studies to apply for an open work permit, which may be valid for up to 3 years;
    • a new pathway to permanent resident status for in-Canada Hong Kong residents who meet specific eligibility criteria (to be determined);
    • expedited study permit applications for those who want to study in Canada; and
    • expedited documents for Canadians and Canadian permanent residents in Hong Kong, to speed up processing of permanent residence applications, including family sponsorship;
  • On November 16, 2020, the Minister appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canada-China Relations and confirmed a waiver of the 12-month bar on Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRAA).
  • The Minister also mentioned that admissibility for asylum claims or immigration applications will not be impacted negatively by previous arrests that took place in peaceful protests, or by the virtue only of being charged under the new Security Law.

Less complex claims

  • The Refugee Protection Division determines refugee protection claims made in-Canada.
  • Decision-makers are independent and render decisions based on the information before them. Each refugee claim is unique and must be determined on its individual merits, free from external interference.
  • Certain country and claim types may be eligible for a streamlined case management process, which we call the Task Force on Less Complex Claims. This process allows for certain claims to be granted a positive decision without holding a hearing; or to proceed with a short hearing if only one or two issues need to be resolved.
  • Decisions to include a particular country of origin or type of claim under the Less Complex Claims process are based on a number of assessments, including conditions relating to human rights, political activity and legal systems.
  • At any time during a Less Complex Claims process, a member can decide to proceed with a regular hearing if complex or credibility issues are raised.