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UK to extend residence rights for British Nationals (Overseas) citizens in Hong Kong

Last updated on 3 July 2020


Following the announcement by the Chinese Government that it will impose a national security law on Hong Kong, the UK has confirmed that new arrangements will be put in place for British Nationals (Overseas).

The UK government made a commitment to change the rules for BN(O)s should China implement the new national security law first proposed in early June.

This new bespoke immigration route will allow BN(O)s to come to the UK without the current 6 month limit, granting them 5 years limited leave to remain, with the ability to live and work in the UK.

  • unprecedented extension of visa rights follows increasing restrictions on the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong by the Chinese Government in breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration

  • new immigration rules will allow BN(O) citizens the right to live and work in the UK for longer and give a path to full British citizenship

  • decision comes on the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover and fulfils PM’s promise to ‘uphold our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong’

After these 5 years, they will be able to apply for settled status and, after a further 12 months with that status, apply for citizenship.

The new bespoke route for BN(O)s will be implemented in the coming months, with exact date and further details to be announced in due course. In the meantime, we will ensure British National (Overseas) citizens who wish to come to the UK will be able to do so, subject to standard immigration checks.

Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, said:

We will not look the other way on Hong Kong, and we will not duck our historic responsibilities to its people. We will honour our commitment to change the arrangements for those holding BN(O) status and continue to stand up for the people of Hong Kong.

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said:

China’s decision to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong is deeply regrettable. Now China have imposed this law we will launch a new immigration route for British Nationals (Overseas) and their families.

The UK has a historic and moral obligation to British Nationals (Overseas) in Hong Kong and we will honour our commitment to them.

The new Chinese legislation was imposed yesterday, and crackdowns on the freedom of the people of Hong Kong have already taken place with the arrests of those protesting the new law.

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