March 4, 2021

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New visa route for UK nationals in Hong Kong set to open

2 min read
The UK has accused China of breaching its treaty obligations on Hong Kong.

LONDON — A new visa for Hong Kong British nationals will open on Sunday, the U.K. government said — fulfilling a commitment made last year in response to China’s imposition of draconian security laws on the territory.

Hong Kongers with British national overseas (BNO) status and their eligible family members will be able to come to the U.K. to live, study and work. After five years they will be able to apply to settle in the country and will be eligible to apply for British citizenship after one more year.

The U.K. committed to introduce the new visa last summer, accusing China of a breach of its treaty obligations to uphold the autonomy of Hong Kong — a former British territory — within the Chinese system. From July to January, around 7,000 BNO status holders and their dependents had already been granted six months’ leave to remain in the U.K., in advance of the opening of the new visa route, the U.K. government said.

The Home Office forecasts that between 123,000 and 153,700 eligible Hong Kongers and their dependents will take up the new visa in its first year, with between 258,000 and 322,400 forecast to arrive over five years.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “immensely proud” to introduce the new visa route. In doing so we have honoured our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong, and we have stood up for freedom and autonomy – values both the U.K. and Hong Kong hold dear,” he said.


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