UK visa to be issued for Hong Kong residents from Sunday


January 29, 2021: About 300,000 people are expected to leave Hong Kong for Britain using a new visa route, which opens on Sunday.

Hong Kong’s British National passport holders and their immediate dependents will be able to apply for the visa using a smartphone app.

Those eligible for the visa can apply online and will need to book an appointment to attend a visa application center.

The visa was announced in July after China imposed a new security law in Hong Kong.

Beijing warns the UK not to meddle in domestic issues.

Those who apply and secure the visa will be able to use it for settlement after five years and then British citizenship after a further 12 months.

Although there are 2.9 million citizens eligible to move to the UK, with a further estimated 2.3 million dependants, the government expects 300,000 people to take up the offer.

 “I am immensely proud that we have brought in this new route for Hong Kong BNOs to live, work and make their home in our country,” said the Prime Minister.

From February 23, BNO status holders who have the eligible biometric passport will be able to use an app to complete their home application.

The visa fee to stay for five years will be £250 per person and £180 for a 30-month stay. There is an immigration health surcharge of up to £624 per year.

Nathan Law, a pro-democracy campaigner who fled Hong Kong and now lives in exile in the UK, welcomed the announcement.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said this was to give applicants greater security amid fears they could be identified and targeted by the authorities.

“Safeguarding individuals’ freedoms, liberty, and security are vital for those individuals that go through this process,” she said.

The UK has said the Joint Declaration agreement is under threat because the territory passed a new law in June that gives China reforming new controls over Hong Kong people.

The law is necessary to prevent the type of protests seen in Hong Kong during much of 2019, China said. However, the law has caused alarm both in Hong Kong and abroad, with opponents saying it erodes the territory’s freedoms as a semi-autonomous region of China.

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