The United Kingdom has opened its doors to migrants coming from Hong Kong through the new visa for residents coming from Hong Kong’s territory after the Chinese authorities’ imposed the National Security Law in Hong Kong last year, which the UK believes is in breach of its commitments under international law.
“The visa reflects the UK’s historical and moral commitment to the people of Hong Kong who have had their rights and freedoms restricted,” reads a statement of the government announcing the new visa.
Through the British National (Overseas) passport, British Nationals overseas together with their immediate family members, ordinarily residents in Hong Kong, will be eligible to move to Britain to live or for other purposes such as working or studying there.
They will be able to settle in Britain in five years and then 12 months later for citizenship, VisaGuide.World reports.
In this regard, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed that the decision honored the profound ties of friendship and history between the UK and Hong Kong people.
“I am immensely proud that we have brought in this new route for Hong Kong BN(O)s to live, work and make their home in our country,” Johnson pointed out.
Whereas Home Secretary Priti Patel said that “Global Britain will always stand up for what is right and uphold our commitments.”
The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, on the other hand, said that “China’s imposition of the National Security Law in Hong Kong constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration contrary to international law.”
All persons interested in applying for the visa with certain biometric passports are eligible to do so from their homes using a smartphone app to scan their passport instead of going to a visa application center.
BN(O) status visa holders, together with their family members who hold a biometric BN(O) or European Economic Area (EEA) passport, will be permitted to scan their passport on the app and apply from home, becoming the first non-EEA citizens to be able to apply in this way. This kind of application will be eligible from February 23.
About 7,000 BN(O) status holders, together with their dependents, have been granted Leave Outside the Rules, at the border, from July 15, 2020, until January 13, 2021.
Leave Outside the Rule includes all kinds of permission to live in Britain granted otherwise than in agreement with the Immigration Rules, instead of being based on the residual discretion of the Home Secretary, under the Immigration Act 1971.
British National Overseas status holders will not be required to apply through the new route immediately. The UK’s government has announced that it will extend the Leave Outside the Rules at the border scheme until after it becomes totally digital.
“In addition to the Immigration Health Surcharge, the visa fee payable to stay for five years will be £250 per person, or applicants will also be able to apply to stay for 30 months, which will cost £180 per person. This is lower than many other visas,” the announcement revealed.
In July, the UK government had presented additional details regarding the Hong Kong BN(O) visa program.