The United Kingdom will grant special visas to Hong Kong citizens fleeing China

About 5 million people will have the opportunity to leave Hong Kong to become citizens of the United Kingdom, thus escaping the new repressive laws imposed by China after a season of national protests.

(Photo: Anthony Wallace / AFP via Getty Images)

On Sunday, January 31, a new visa regime went into effect that will allow Hong Kong citizens to apply for it British nationality. The new preferential migration channel is the UK’s response – also diplomatic – to the harshest National Security Laws Imposed by the Chinese government in Hong Kong last June, and was preceded and followed by numerous protests by pro-democracy activists.

Anyone holding a British National Overseas (Bno) passport and their family members can apply for the new visa. This particular document, issued by the former colony before 1997, includes: British citizenship, but not nationality. to me guardianAbout 5 million people can apply for a visa and emigrate to the UK, of whom 3 million are direct BNO holders and the other two are family members. This will include – just roughly, of course. Loss of more than 70% of the total population In Hong Kong And about 36 billion Dollars a year.

As required by the new regulation, once the visa is obtained, the Hong Kong residents They will be able to move and work in the UK, as if they were private citizens, and apply for citizenship after five years of residency. To complicate matters, the government Beijing announced that it will no longer recognize BNO passports As travel or legal identity documents. The measure is actually a symbolic act: Hong Kong citizens can use their regular passports and even ID cards to travel to the UK. For this, China also said it is ready to take. “More measures In order to discourage immigration.

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Many people in Hong Kong have yet to apply for the new visa because they have to physically come to the British embassy and have their passport stamped. Guardian sources say that the fear of registration and suffering repercussions is very strong, but despite this Entry to the UK increased by nearly 300% Since last June. In order to protect citizens who wish to leave the region, on February 23, the London government will launch an application through which applicants will not need to have their passport stamped and will be able to complete the online viewing application.

From the United Kingdom, Hong Kong who have already emigrated are appealing to their own people, urging them to leave before Beijing imposes more restrictive measures.

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Maggie Benson

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