Hong Kong and the Pathway to UK Citizenship
The past several months has seen China’s mainland government impose strict laws on Hongkongers.
You, like most others in Hong Kong, must be feeling undue pressure and probably looking for a way out either through immigration or seeking temporary residence elsewhere.
Given the profound extent to which the recently passed security laws would affect your freedoms and daily life as a Hongkonger, these are legitimate concerns. Which is why you should think about moving to the UK sooner rather than later if you are eligible:
Strict New Laws from Mainland China
Despite violent protests and resistance, the CCP government introduced strict new security laws that will, in addition to limiting your freedoms:
- allow the Chinese government to extradite Hongkongers to mainland China.
- open Hongkongers to invasive privacy violations that include wiretapping and surveillance (similar to mainland China).
- limit your freedom to protest, criticize the national government, or participate in transparent democratic processes.
- allows Chinese laws to have precedence over local judicial laws -this might see most Hongkongers subjected to trials and convictions according to mainland China laws.
- might lead to stricter clampdowns and persecution of people deemed to have foreign connections and interests or views.
Is it time to leave Hong Kong?
The UK has always been one of the preferred relocation destinations for Hongkongers. Today, there are millions of Hong Kong residents living in the UK either as permanent residents or temporarily. Additionally, another sizable number of Hongkongers who still hold their BNO (British National Overseas) passports can get easy entry and long-term residency in the UK.
60% of Hong Kong Residents Plan to Move Abroad
Like most other Hongkongers currently at loggerheads with the mainland government, moving to the UK and other destinations is at the top of your agenda. According to recent surveys conducted in Hong Kong, over 60% of current residents have plans to move abroad, citing a lack of democracy and pressure from the mainland government as the main reasons.
The UK Welcomes You
Unlike other nationalities, Hong Kong residents enjoy preferential treatment should they decide to make the United Kingdom their new home. In fact, as a result of recent developments, the UK Home Office has made deliberate efforts to make it easier for Hongkong BNO holders and many others to enter and live in the UK.
Bespoke immigration routes announced by the UK foreign secretary this year allow over 2.6 million Hong Kong BNO holders (and their dependents) to move to and live in the UK for five years with generous options available for permanent residency afterwards. What’s more, there are other opportunities available for non-BNO holders, including one to claim your status if you did not have any nationality on 30th June 1997!
UK Immigration Solicitors understand that the recent developments in Hong Kong have come as an unwelcome surprise for many Hong Kong nationals and, as a result, you probably have many questions. We have put together some very basic common questions below but if there is anything specific you want to know; you are invited to reach out to us assistance by phone or through our online form on this page.
Is it safe to leave Hong Kong?
It comes as no surprise that record numbers are heading for the door—or at least preparing to do so. Even before the new security law was proposed, more than 40 percent of Hong Kong’s population was considering emigration. Highly skilled expatriates were also reportedly leaving Hong Kong in the wake of massive protests and the coronavirus epidemic. The finer details are still very much in their infancy and as a Hong Konger, you may be eagerly watching the political landscape for the latest developments.
What we do know for sure that the Hong Kong that people and their businesses have come to know, and love may be not exist is the not too distant future.
We believe that whilst the finer details are being thrashed out in a somewhat undiplomatic fashion, there is currently a very attractive window of opportunity available for Hong Konger’s to seriously consider their options and weigh up the consequences of staying where they are until it’s too late.
Do you have offices in Hong Kong?
UK Immigration Solicitors have a global presence with dedicated associates spanning the globe. Initially, we had hoped to assist you by offering a free drop in service to assess your position and options in a discreet, face to face environment however, given China’s hard-line stance, we have decided not to offer in country services at this time for the safety of our team. We can still offer our full suite of services to all Hong Kong residents from our UK headquarters.
Is my enquiry private?
We pride ourselves on professional discretion and always ensure that any information exchanged with us remains strictly confidential. We will not share any information with any external organisation or individual unless we are in prior mutual agreement and it is necessary to do so in order to progress your instructions.
What service do you offer?
We provide a comprehensive service that handles everything from initial enquiry, legal research, problem solving and full application processing and submission on your behalf. Our expert team will assist you with every aspect of the process and will assist you in overcoming any operation challenges you may face.
We are one of the UK’s largest independent immigration law practices and are globally recognised as one of the UK’s number 1 immigration law specialists. We are lawyers direct and handle all legal work within our own practices only. Speak with our team now to find out more or submit an online enquiry for a fast, confidential and free assessment.
Despite the relative ease of entry to the UK for Hongkongers, going through the application and approval process can be complicated and there are very specific requirements which must be met. The UK immigration framework is difficult to navigate at the best of times and given the current situation, you will want to ensure that you act early and get things right first time whilst the opportunity is available.
We are the UK’s #1 immigration specialist firm, helping thousands of Hongkongers and other nationalities who want to move to the UK.
What is BN (O) status?
BN (O) means ‘’British national overseas’ ’and includes.
- A person with British Nationality overseas status
- A person with British Nationality overseas status and a current BN (O) passport.
- The British National (Overseas) status was created by the Hong Kong Act 1985 for British Dependent Territories citizens of Hong Kong.
You can’t currently apply for BN (O) status if you are a resident of Hong Kong as there was a cut-off date for all applications.
If you live in Hong Kong and you didn’t register for BN (O) status before the cut-off date of the 1 July 1997 this does not mean you have lost your opportunity. Some people automatically acquired BN (O) status.
Immigration Rules say that even if you didn’t register for BNO status if you had no other nationality or citizenship on the 30 June 1997 then you automatically acquired BN (O) status on the 1 July 1997.
BNO status does not expire therefore, unless you have expressly renounced it, it is a lifetime status.
Will my family be allowed to live in the UK too?
Whilst the family of BN (O) status holders can’t inherit BN (O) status through their parents the UK government has said that those with BN (O) status will be able to bring dependant family members with them. That will include children provided they fit within the dependant category in the Immigration Rules. If you are worried about whether your child or other family member will be classed as a dependant under UK Immigration rules, then speak to us today to get clarity on your position and options.
I’m a non BNO HK resident, can I come to the UK?
If you are not one of the estimated 2.6 million Hong Kong residents who is eligible to apply for a BNO passport and you are worried about your future in Hong Kong there are other Immigration routes into the UK:
- For business start-ups and entrepreneurs – a Start-up visa or Innovator visa
- For skilled workers – a Tier 2 (General) visa
- For students – a student visa
- For high net worth individuals – an Investor visa
- For the talented – a global talent visa.
Our specialist team is on standby to talk you through the options and assess which immigration route you can use to live, work and study in the UK. Speak with a member of our team now to discuss your options for free.
If you are a Mandarin or Cantonese speaker, please submit an enquiry using the free assessment form on this page and a member of our Hong Kong Team will be happy to assist you in the language of your choice.
Claim Your Right to Live in the UK with #1 Immigration Specialist Firm Now by calling us on +44 203 384 4389 whilst you still have the options to leave.
Start your journey to a safer future for you and your family today by speaking with our specialist team for 24/7 365 discreet assistance from the UK’s #1 Immigration Lawyers.
Remember: Our understanding, friendly staff are trained experts and your confidentiality will be respected. We are the UK’s #1 Immigration Lawyers and will not share any information you discuss with us with your partner or the Home Office.
Call us now or fill out the Confidential Assessment Form to take the first step to solving your problems.
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