The United Kingdom’s government has announced that the applications for the Hong Kong BN(O) visa will open on January 31, 2021.
According to the statement published by the UK’s government, British Overseas Nationals will be eligible to enter the United Kingdom’s territory for different purposes, VisaGuide.World reports.
Authorities in Britain have noted that British Overseas citizens will have the right to work in every position that consists of the UK employment laws.
“The imposition of the National Security Law on Hong Kong marked a clear erosion of the rights and freedoms for the people of this city. This new route to the UK is part of our commitment to the people of Hong Kong. The UK is ready to welcome BN(O) citizens and their dependents to the United Kingdom,” the British Consul-General to Hong Kong, Andrew Heyn, pointed out.
The British National Overseas visa allows overseas residents in Hong Kong together with their immediate family members to move to the United Kingdom to live, work or study.
According to the latest statement of the United Kingdom’s government, the cost of a visa is set to be lower in comparison to other UK visas. A permit which will be given for a five-year period will cost £250 per person, while a 30-month visa will cost £180 per person.
However, BN(O) citizens will be required to pay immigration health surcharge in order to receive access to the National Health Service in Britain. They must also show that they are financially able to support themselves as well as their dependents, for at least six months in Britain.
Even though the UK has given more options and details regarding the BN(O) visa, China may not recognize such a visa.
The concerns have been raised after China’s Foreign Ministry highlighted on Friday that it might not recognize this kind of visa as, according to them, Britain had violated its promises regarding the issue of the British National (Overseas) passports.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian stressed that the UK played up the issue of the BN (O) passports.
“The British side violated its promises, insisted on going its way and repeatedly played up the issue of BNO Passports,” Zhao emphasized in an announcement.
According to the UK’s figures, up to 3,00,000 of Hong Kong’s 7 million residents have BNO passports. The statistics are more than double the number, compared to four years earlier figures.
Back in July, the United Kingdom’s government revealed other details regarding the Hong Kong BN(O) visa.
The BN(O) visa follows several other changes introduced by the UK authorities in its visa system, including the Points Based System and the changes that EU nationals will need to follow after December 31, in order to move to the UK to live, study, work, or retire.
Earlier this month, authorities in Britain also clarified the procedure that citizens of 26 European Union Member States would need to follow, after January 31, to complete their studies in the United Kingdom. Irish students will be the only ones excluded from the visa requirements.