Britain will change its immigration rules and offer millions of people in Hong Kong “a route to citizenship” if China imposes new security laws, Boris Johnson has said.
Following his writing in the Times, Mr Johnson has said that the UK would “have no choice” but to uphold its ties with the territory.
In the Times on Wednesday, the Prime Minister confirmed that if China passes the law, people in Hong Kong who hold British National (Overseas) passports will be allowed to come to the UK for 12 months without visa.
Around 350,000 people in Hong Kong are currently a BNO passport holder.
On Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK was in talks with countries in the Five Eyes alliance about how to handle a potential exodus of people from the area following China’s announcement.
This is still a developing news and we will continue to update.
What do we know about British National (Overseas) holders?
- Someone who was a British overseas territories citizen by connection with Hong Kong was able to register as a British national (overseas) before 1 July 1997.
- British overseas territories citizens from Hong Kong who did not register as British nationals (overseas) and had no other nationality or citizenship on 30 June 1997 became British overseas citizens on 1 July 1997.
- If you’re not already a British national (overseas), you cannot apply to become one.
- The 1984 Agreement laid out that British Dependent Territories citizens would be eligible to retain an appropriate status which, without conferring the right of abode in the United Kingdom, would entitle them to continue to use passports issued by the Government of the United Kingdom.
- More information on British National (overseas) status can be found here: https://http://www.gov.uk/types-of-british-nationality/british-national-overseas.
- BN(O)s have to qualify under the UK Immigration Rules in the same way as any other applicant.
- Hong Kong passport holders can visit the UK visa free.
- As of 24 February 2020, there are 349,881 holders of BN(O) passports.
- We estimate there are around 2.9m BN(O)s currently in Hong Kong.