Britain to give Hongkongers residency rights and path to citizenship after National Security Law Passed
The British government has agreed to allow around 3 million Hongkongers eligible for British National (Overseas) passports and their dependents (pic) told Parliament the law was a “clear and serious breach” of the 1984 Joint Declaration, that provided for the colony’s return to Chinese rule and was supposed to guarantee the city’s autonomy.
Raab said holders of BN(O) passports would have the right to remain for five years after which they can apply for settled status, effectively permanent residency. After 12 months of settled status, they can apply for citizenship. Raab added: “There will be no quotas on numbers.” Previously British ministers had only suggested that BN(O) passport holders would be offered “extendable periods of 12 months”. Raab continued: “This is a special, bespoke set of arrangements developed for the unique circumstances we face and in light of our historic commitment to the people of Hong Kong”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier confirmed that the British government would go ahead with the move, telling the House of Commons: “We make clear that … if China continued down this path, we would introduce a new route for those with British National (Overseas) status to enter the UK, granting them limited leave to remain, with the ability to live and work in the UK, and thereafter to apply for citizenship. And this is precisely what we will do now.”
About 350,000 Hongkongers hold BN (O) passports and an estimated 2.5 million are eligible to apply for them.