Government pledges UK residence rights for Hong Kong citizens
Over the last few years we have seen an increase in queries from Hong Kong citizens considering relocating to the UK. The recent proposal by China to impose new security laws in Hong Kong has led to the UK Government making the following announcement:
“If China continues down this path and implements this national security legislation, we will remove that six month limit and allow those BNO passport holders to come to the UK and to apply to work and study for extendable periods of 12 months and that will itself provide a pathway to future citizenship.”
Given there are currently around 350,000 British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders and a further 2.5 million Hong Kong citizens that are eligible to apply for a BNO passport, this announcement provides many Hong Kong citizens with a viable 12 month UK visa option that will be extendable and importantly lead to British Citizenship.
The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has appeared to widen this offer further to all those eligible to hold a BNO passport, indicating that physically holding a BNO passport is not necessary, simply being entitled/eligible to a BNO passport would be enough to benefit from this proposed relaxation of the UK immigration rules.
There will undoubtedly be further clarification in the coming weeks, however if implemented this will provide an attractive route to relocate to the UK for many Hong Kong citizens. In the meantime if you are thinking of relocating your business or family to the UK there are also many other visa options available. For example, Tier 2 visas (work permits), Investor visas, Entrepreneur visas (Start up and Innovator), Spouse visas, Youth mobility visas, Tier 4 Student visa etc.
Our Immigration team works closely with our highly experienced Corporate and Real Estate teams to make sure any relocation to the UK is well planned and legally viable. Our Corporate team regularly advise clients wishing to relocate business interests to the UK as well as setting up a UK presence.
Please contact Stephen Hall if you wish to discuss any aspects of a UK relocation further.