World UK stands firm on Hong Kong visa plan
A pro-democracy activist on Hong Kong’s year of turmoil: “The city itself is dying”
Joey Siu, an activist featured in a new documentary, talks about the protests and China’s national security crackdown.Starting in June 2019, the city convulsed with protests over a controversial extradition bill. That expanded into a pro-democracy movement that sought to push back against China’s efforts to further erode the city-state’s already tenuous autonomy, and the freedoms that went with it.
The UK will not "look the other way" on Hong Kongers with British National (Overseas) status, No 10 says, amid a row with China over a new visa.
From Sunday Hong Kong citizens with BNO status can apply for a special UK visa.
But China's foreign ministry has been critical of the move, saying "while the UK may be in dire need of talents" it should not have used the BNO passport as a "political cover-up".
It said it will no longer recognise the BNO passport as a travel document.
About 300,000 people are expected to leave Hong Kong for Britain using the route.
The visa was announced in July after China imposed a new security law in Hong Kong.
UK opens visa route for Hong Kong residents to become citizens
A new visa scheme offering millions of Hong Kong residents a pathway to British citizenship is set to go live on Sunday.From Sunday afternoon, anyone with a British National Overseas (BNO) passport and their dependents will be able to apply online for a visa allowing them to live and work in the UK. After five years, they can then apply for citizenship.
Those who apply and secure the visa will be able to apply for settlement after five years and then British citizenship after a further 12 months.
The prime minister's official spokesman said: "We have been clear that we will not look the other way when it comes to Hong Kong people with British National (Overseas) status who now have a choice to come and live and work and study in the UK.
"And it remains the case that BNOs and their families can use documentation other than BNO passports to travel and enter the UK."
The comments came after Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily briefing the "attempt to turn a large number of Hong Kong people into second-class British citizens" had "completely changed the nature of the two sides' original understanding of BNO".
Special UK visa for Hong Kong residents from Sunday
The PM says it honoured the UK's "profound ties of history and friendship" with the ex-British colony.Hong Kong's British National (Overseas) passport holders and their immediate dependants will be able to apply for the visa using a smartphone app.
"This move seriously infringes on China's sovereignty, grossly interferes in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs, and seriously violates international law and the basic norms of international relations," he said.
A statement from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "Apart from serving its political agenda, the move of the British side will also bring huge economic interests to the country. While the UK may be in dire need of talents and capital, it should not have made use of the BNO passport as a 'political cover-up'."
China has also said the BNO passport will not be accepted as proof of identity and they "reserve the right to take further measures".
Hong Kongers use their own Hong Kong passport or ID card to leave the city. To enter mainland China, they need to use their Home Return Permit, issued by Chinese immigration, unless they use a full foreign passport and apply for a visa to enter as a foreigner.
UK says upholding 'freedom and autonomy' with new HK visas
Britain's government on Friday vowed to stand by the people of its former colony Hong Kong against a Chinese crackdown as it prepared to launch a new visa scheme potentially benefiting millions. In practice, London projects that up to 322,400 of Hong Kong's 7.5 million population will take up the visa over five years, benefiting the UK economy by up to £2.9 billion ($4 billion). The new pathway will not come cheap.A five-year visa will cost a relatively moderate £250 per person. But a mandatory surcharge to access Britain's state-run health service will run to £3,120 per adult, and £2,350 for those under 18.
The only time they might use a BNO is upon arrival into the UK, or another country that recognises the document.
Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the special visa honoured the UK's "profound ties of history and friendship" with the ex-British colony.
About 7,000 people from Hong Kong have already been allowed to settle in the UK since July, the Home Office said.
Although there are 2.9 million citizens eligible to move to the UK, with a further estimated 2.3 million dependants, the government expects about 300,000 people to take up the offer in the first five years.
The 7,000 who have already arrived were allowed to settle before the scheme began by being granted Leave Outside the Rules, which gives the government discretion over immigration rules on compassionate grounds.
Mobile phone app
Those eligible for the new visa can apply online and will need to book an appointment to attend a visa application centre.
And from 23 February, BNO status holders who hold an eligible biometric passport will be able to use an app to complete their application from home.
China to 'no longer recognise' UK-issued BN(O) passport for Hong Kongers
China on Friday said it will "no longer recognise" the British National (Overseas) passport for Hong Kongers, as Britain prepares to offer millions of former colonial subjects a way to escape Beijing's crackdown on dissent. - Offer open to millions - How many Hong Kongers will take up the offer remains to be seen, especially as the coronavirus pandemic restricts global flights and mires much of the world, including Britain, in a painful economic malaise.But a BN(O) passport is available to a huge number of people -- about 70 percent of Hong Kong's total population of 7.5 million.
The visa fee to stay for five years will be £250 per person - or £180 for a 30-month stay - and there is an immigration health surcharge of up to £624 every year.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the mobile phone app was to give applicants greater security amid fears they could be identified and targeted by the authorities.
"Safeguarding individuals' freedoms, liberty and security is absolutely vital for those individuals that go through this process," she said.
The BNO status was created before the UK handed responsibility for Hong Kong back to China in 1997.
Before Hong Kong was returned, the UK and China made an agreement to introduce "one country, two systems", which meant, among other things, rights such as freedom of assembly, free speech and freedom of the press would be protected.
The agreement signed in 1984 was set to last until 2047.
But the UK has said this agreement - known as the Joint Declaration - is under threat because the territory passed a new law in June that gives China sweeping new controls over the people of Hong Kong.
China has said the law is necessary to prevent the type of protests seen in Hong Kong during much of 2019. However, the law has caused alarm both in Hong Kong and abroad, with opponents saying it erodes the territory's freedoms as a semi-autonomous region of China.
China will 'no longer recognise' UK-issued BNO passport for Hong Kongers .
China on Friday said it will "no longer recognise" the British National (Overseas) passport for Hong Kongers, as Britain prepares to open its doors to millions more residents of the former colony following a security crackdown by Beijing. Beijing was swift to hit back at the British change on Friday. "From January 31, China will no longer recognise the so-called BNO passport as a travel document and ID document, and reserves the right to take further actions," foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.