In an about turn to the BNO (British National Overseas) issue, Dominic Raab the foreign secretary has come to pledge to extend the British visa rights for all BNO passport holders and also to facilitate their path to British citizenship. This will happen unless Beijing changes its stance on security laws in Hong Kong.
300,000 HK residents to get British Citizenship
There are now about 315,000 BNO passport holders and as many know that BNO passport holders and the status there of was only for consular assistance and came with no other rights as the holders are not British Citizens. The standard period for visiting the UK as a BNO holder was 6 months. This has now been extended to 12 months. This has been promised to be a pathway to citizenship.
Mr Raab said: “If China continues down this path and implements this national security legislation, we will . . . allow those BNO passport holders to come to the UK and to apply to work and study for extendable periods of 12 months and that would itself provide a pathway to future citizenship.”
We have over the years heard these promises before with nothing coming of it. Its been more than a generation now without any form of British Citizenship or pathway to this. Some have called for immediate citizenship to BNO holders but this is unlikely. This now comes on the backdrop of the US, UK, Australia and Canada issuing a joint statement condemning the new security laws and not holding to the “one country, two systems”. The question is will it happen or is this simply a political ploy. In 1972 the UK pulled out 28,000 Ugandan Asians when they came under threat however that was a smaller number than the amount of BNO passport holders. Will the British government on such a large scale allow 300,000 BNO holders British citizenship?
Its a wait and see.
Update : 30 May 2020
More people in Hong Kong are preparing for the worst. Bloomberg reported yesterday that Hong Kong residents have been very busy exchanging even ore of their HKD holdings into foreign currencies. No sources have been cited however most believe it to be true. People are worried about the status of Hong Kong and if the US will revoke the special status of Honk Kong as it would no longer be viewed to be independent from Beijing. Zero Hedge reports —
Some popular money exchange shops in Tsim Sha Tsui, Central and Wan Chai areas even ran out of USD on Thursday evening.Meanwhile, HK executive Carrie Lam (known to her many detractors as “Piglet”, a reference to the character from “Winnie the Pooh”, published a notice in almost all Chinese-language papers in the city calling on citizens “not to fear” the national security law, insisting it would only target a “small minority” of “criminals”.
Update : 2 June 2020
The United States has now stepped up the pressure on Hong Kong. On Saturday Hong Kong government officials lashed out at moves by US President Donald Trump to strip the city of its special status. I think most had seen this coming as Zero Hedge reported that many people had been moving their money into US dollars in the last week.
“We will take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China,” Trump said “I am directing my administration to begin the process of eliminating policy that gives Hong Kong different and special treatment,” .
The question now remains is what will happen to those US companies in Hong Kong who have used it as their regional offices. There are currently more than 1,300 US companies in Hong Kong providing about 100,000 jobs. This does not look like it is going to end well.
More updates as things unfold.
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- Hong Kong Consular Q&A - BNO (1.000)
- Residents in Hong Kong Seek British Passports (1.000)
- BNO Passports - Will it work? (1.000)
- BNO was never meant to be? (1.000)
- Tugendhat - The UK had obligations to Hong Kong citizens (1.000)