News Update

UK Government fulfils their promise to assist Hong Kong citizens settle in the UK

Further to our recent article titled “Government pledges UK residence rights for Hong Kong citizens”, today in Parliament the PM Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab revealed further details of their plan to assist Hong Kong citizens. With the Chinese Government pushing ahead and implementing the new security laws, Mr Rabb, has confirmed to Parliament that the UK Home Office will create a “bespoke” visa scheme for British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders and their dependants to relocate to the UK.

The proposed route will allow BNO’s to apply for a five-year visa, permitting them to live, work and study in the UK during that time. At the end of the five-year period, subject to the usual eligibility requirements, BNO visa holders will be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK. One year after obtaining settlement, they will then be able to apply for full British citizenship.

There are estimated to be around 350,000 BNO passport holders and a further 2.5 million Hong Kong citizens that are eligible to apply for a BNO passport. At the moment the announcements today seem to indicate the visa scheme would be open to people who are actually in possession of a BNO passport. The PM had indicated last month the scheme would be open to everyone “entitled” to a BNO passport. It may mean that a large majority of HK citizens will first need to apply for a BNO passport to qualify. There will undoubtedly be further clarification in the coming weeks, however once operational this will provide a very attractive route for relocation to the UK for many Hong Kong citizens.

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.

If you are a BNO passport holder considering a relocation or are considering applying for your first BNO passport, please contact Stephen Hall for further information on the process.

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Stephen Hall
Senior Associate, Head of Immigration
+44 20 7539 7310
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