Today the Prime Minister held a video call with four British National (Overseas) families from Hong Kong who have come to the UK following the imposition of the National Security Law and the UK’s offer of a pathway to British citizenship for BN(O) status holders.
BN(O) status holders and their dependants have been able to formally apply for the visa since the end of January, and in that time we have received 27,000 applications from those wishing to come and pursue and new life in the UK.
The families the Prime Minister spoke to this afternoon have all travelled to the UK in the last year and are living and working around the country. They discussed with the Prime Minister their motivations for leaving Hong Kong and their experiences since coming to the UK.
During the call, the Prime Minister said to the families:
On behalf of the whole country I want to say how glad we are to have you here and how proud we are that you have chosen the UK to live.
I believe strongly in the prospects the UK can offer for those who want to make their lives here and I have no doubt that you are going to feel very much at home.
The UK has a long and proud history of embracing those who arrive on our shores seeking the inalienable rights and freedoms denied to them in their homeland. I am very proud that we have been able to make this offer to you and other British Nationals (Overseas).
The offer to BN(O) status holders was made following the Chinese Government’s imposition of the National Security Law in Hong Kong last year, in breach of its commitments under international law.
The visa reflects the UK’s historic and moral commitment to the people of Hong Kong who have had their rights and freedoms restricted.
Since February, Hong Kong BN(O) status holders with certain biometric passports have been able to apply for their visa using a smartphone app to scan their passport rather than visiting a visa centre – the first time non-EEA passport holders have been able to use this technology to apply, a further step in the UK’s digitisation of our immigration system.
The UK has taken a number of steps in response to restrictions on freedom in Hong Kong in addition to the BN(O) visa offer, including raising human rights abuses alongside international partners, suspending our extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extending our arms embargo on mainland China to Hong Kong.
- March 20, 2021 at 5:54 am by Editor (displayed above)
- March 20, 2021 at 5:54 am by Editor