Hong Kong citizens’ huge snub to China: 325,000 to move to UK in next five years

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The Home Office yesterday confirmed there will be no quota and a visa is “a clear pathway to be granted British citizenship”. Home Office officials predict between 123,000 and 153,700 people could move to the UK from Hong Kong in the first year of the new visa being introduced in January. Over the next five years, 258,000 to 322,400 could move to Britain, they predict.

Officials say the new arrivals could boost the economy by up to £2.9billion over five years, with the majority coming through additional tax receipts.

The Government introduced the route after China enforced its national security law – a move critics claim clamps down on Hong Kong citizens’ human rights.

Nearly three million citizens are eligible for a British National Overseas passport. Around 350,000 people living in the former British territory already hold British Nationals (Overseas) passports and another 2.5 million would be eligible to apply for them.

The British Consul-General to Hong Kong, Andrew Heyn, said: “We have released more details about the new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa, providing a route to UK citizenship.

“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 dependants to the UK.”

The new route opens up on January 31. A 30-month visa will cost £180 while a five-year one will cost £250.

Those applying will still need to pay a £400-a-year immigration health surcharge.

They must also demonstrate they can support themselves and their dependants financially for at least six months in the UK.

Hong Kong-based banks have been told to report any transactions that they believe may violate the national security law.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority updated its advice to companies last month, in an amended document of frequently asked questions, to say transactions suspected to be linked to the law should be treated the same as transactions suspected to be money laundering or financing terrorism.

The national security law was imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing in late June, broadly outlawing acts of secession, subversion, foreign collusion and terrorism. It saw mass protests by pro-democracy campaigners, leading to clashes with riot police.

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