The Strategist

London to start UK citizenship program for Hong Kong residents in 2021

07/23/2020 - 09:39

From January 2021, the British government will launch a program to accept immigrants from Hong Kong, who, after a certain period of residence and work in the kingdom, will be able to obtain the full citizenship. The details of the plan were presented by British Interior Minister Priti Patel.

Hong Kong residents holding a British Overseas Passport (British Overseas Citizenship) and their immediate family members will be able to travel to the United Kingdom with a new special visa to live and work or study.

Their current status already gives them the right to visa-free travel to Britain for up to six months. With the new visa, they will be able to obtain permission for two periods of stay in the country for a total length of 30 months or for one five-year period. As a result, they will be able to apply for British citizenship.

The same right will be given to those who were born in Hong Kong after 1997 with at least one parent being a citizen of the British overseas territories.

By introducing these measures, the UK is fulfilling its promise to Hong Kong residents to uphold their right to freedom, the minister said.

The program was launched after China passed the new National Security Law, which significantly limited the region's autonomy. In May, a spokesman for the PRC Foreign Ministry said that all holders of British overseas passports living in Hong Kong are Chinese citizens, and granting them a different status by London would be a violation of international law, recalls BBC News.