“The move delivers on the UK’s historic and moral commitment to the people of Hong Kong who chose to retain their ties to the UK by taking up BN(O) status in 1997. It provides them with a pathway to live in the UK should they choose to do so.”
BN(O) holders had been granted a particular standing within the Eighties, however for many years the doc didn’t give them the precise to work or stay within the UK.
That modified final yr, after Beijing’s imposition of a nationwide safety legislation on Hong Kong, which banned secession, subversion and collusion with overseas forces. The legislation has already had a significant impact on town’s political life, with virtually each distinguished opposition politician presently dealing with subversion costs, and widespread self-censorship.
Both strikes had been met with widespread worldwide criticism, significantly from the UK, which argued the legal guidelines breached an settlement governing Hong Kong’s 1997 handover. In flip, Beijing has accused London of appearing illegally by offering a pathway to citizenship for Hong Kongers beneath the BN(O) scheme.
He mentioned the BN(O) plan “seriously violates China’s sovereignty, grossly interferes in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs, and seriously violates international law and basic norms of international relations.”
The Beijing and Hong Kong governments have mentioned they’ll not acknowledge BN(O) passports as a sound journey doc, although most holders additionally maintain Hong Kong or different passports, so the impact of this can be restricted.
In an announcement, British Home Secretary Priti Patel mentioned London had “promised to uphold freedom for the people of Hong Kong, which is why I am proud that we have been able to support so many people when they have needed our help.”
“It’s an unprecedented and generous scheme and there is no other visa in the world of this nature,” she added. “We are working hard to successfully resettle people here and recognize there is nothing more difficult than leaving your home to rebuild a life in a new country.”
Most of the cash will go to councils in England “to provide targeted support for new arrivals,” together with English language classes and assist with housing for individuals who want it. Some £5 million can be used to set up “12 virtual welcome hubs” throughout the UK, to help Hong Kongers in issues such as making use of for faculties, registering with GPs or establishing companies.
Protest leader Nathan Law granted asylum
While thousands and thousands of Hong Kongers are eligible for BN(O) standing, most of the youthful protesters who took half in anti-government unrest which rocked town in 2019 and attracted worldwide consideration can have been born too late.
In the previous yr, authorities have begun rounding up and prosecuting these suspected of protest-related offenses, whereas different protest leaders and activists have been charged beneath the nationwide safety legislation.
While Law is older than many protesters, he was born in mainland China, and so will not be eligible for the BN(O) scheme.
“The fact that I am wanted under the National Security Law shows that I am exposed to severe political persecution and am unlikely to return to Hong Kong without risk,” Law mentioned on Twitter. “My situation, however, may not apply to all Hong Kong asylum seekers. Some may not have enough evidence to substantiate their claims due to lack of media reports or fleeing before the persecution. Fears over their claims being denied, most of them live in distress and anxiety.”
Law mentioned he hoped the Home Office would “consider more comprehensive evidence” in circumstances involving Hong Kong protesters, so as to allow extra to declare asylum within the UK.