Crystal Wu and Cara Chen
Education in Canada has become more appealing with the two newly announced paths for Hongkongers to attain permanent residency, education advisers say.
"We are hopeful the new policy will add favorable consideration among Hong Kong students and parents toward Canadian universities," said Alvin Chung Chin-wai, McGill University's regional head of alumni relations and advancement in Asia.
Chung foresees there would be a potential increase in student enrollment and he assures that his university in Quebec will be able to handle great student uptakes.
Education centers in Hong Kong have also observed an increasing interest in studying in Canada.
"More students have been consulting about further education in Canada in the past year and not just for four-year bachelor's degrees," said Mavis Ho Yan-lam, general manager of Astep Education. "Many two-year diploma programs offered by Canadian colleges also meet the requirements of the new paths.
"We have received inquiries from not only high school students but also those who have just begun their careers and are interested in advanced studies and job opportunities in Canada."
Sing Wong Yik-sing, director of Academic Link Overseas Studies Center, shares this observation.
Having worked in the industry for almost two decades, Wong said there used to be little interest in post-secondary diplomas and college studies, but there was a rise in inquiries for such programs following the announcement of a new category of three-year work permits late last year. These degrees take a shorter time and cost less, he added.
Sing also saw interest from parents with young children as Canada offers a free public education system.
However, Wong said these programs may not be applicable for everyone as applicants need to have a valid reason for studying the courses to have their visa approved.
But he admitted the scheme is an attractive deal for Hongkongers as there is no deadline or time limit to the new paths and it has relatively less stringent pandemic restrictions compared to countries like Australia and New Zealand.