Last Updated:

UK's Special Visa Scheme To Allow Hong Kong Residents To Become Citizens

The UK is preparing to welcome tons of people from Hong Kong after the opening of a new visa for residents of Hong Kong.

UK

The United Kingdom is preparing to welcome tons of people from Hong Kong after the opening of a new visa for residents of Hong Kong. This comes after last year when China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong, which is hampering its autonomy and social freedoms. Various prominent activists and politicians have fled since then. 

Johnson says 'immensely proud'

Under the National Security Law, the Hong Kong government has warned that the police would investigate anyone who helps an "offender" to escape from Hong Kong. In a statement, the UK PM Boris Johnson said that he is “immensely proud” and further added that the country stood up for freedom and autonomy - the values both the UK and Hong Kong hold dear. Under the new scheme, Britain has estimated that nearly three million Hong Kongers and their dependents will be eligible to move to the UK for five years and apply for full citizenship. The British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) is a special status created under British law in 1987 that specifically relates to Hong Kong. The scheme was first announced back in July as controversial national security legislation imposed by Beijing went into effect in Hong Kong, sharply curtailing political freedom. 

Read: UK Readies Application To Join Pacific Trade Partnership

As the UK readies to welcome thousands of Hong Kong residents to escape Beijing’s authoritarian regime, China said that it will “no longer recognise” the British National (Overseas) passport for Hong Kongers. This came after the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on January 28 announced the new visa scheme that offered qualifying Hong Kong citizens a route to British citizenship. It allowed millions of Hongkongers to begin applying to live and work in the UK when a historic immigration scheme for British National Overseas citizens finally opens its doors on January 31. Britain had also accused China of breaking the pledge it made ahead of Hong Kong’s 1997 handover that the financial hub would continue to have key freedom and autonomy for at least 50 years. The UK also argued it as its moral duty to protect the subjects of the former British colony. However, this triggered retaliation from Beijing with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian telling reporters that “From January 31, China will no longer recognise the so-called BN(O) passport as a travel document and ID document, and reserves the right to take further actions”.

Read: UK COVID-19 Strain To Become 'more Dominant' In US By End Of March: Anthony Fauci

Also Read: UK And Irish Officials On UK-EU Vaccine Row

(Image Credits: AP)

First Published: