UK extends visa rights to Hong Kongers, gives path to citizenship

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UK extends visa rights to Hong Kongers, offers path to citizenship

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In this photograph taken in Hong Kong on June 3, 2020, Reese Tan, a 25-year previous tutor, poses along with his British National (Overseas), or BN(O), in his favourite a part of town and the place he would miss probably the most if he leaves, the bustling buying and consuming district of Mongkok.

Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images

The U.Okay. is providing round Three million Hong Kong residents a path to British citizenship after a brand new nationwide safety legislation was imposed within the metropolis, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab mentioned on Wednesday.

That announcement got here after Beijing handed and applied a brand new nationwide safety legislation in Hong Kong. Raab referred to as the transfer “grave and deeply disturbing.”

“The enactment and imposition of this national security law constitute a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” U.Okay. Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructed Parliament on Wednesday.

The Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ensures Hong Kong’s autonomy beneath the “one country, two systems” framework. The metropolis was a British colony for over 150 years earlier than being transferred again to China in 1997.

The new nationwide safety legislation is spurring issues about extreme oversight from Beijing and eroding rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.

About Three million Hong Kongers are eligible for British National (Overseas) passports. There have been 357,156 BN(O) passport holders as of April 17.

The new measures prolong the visa rights of BN(O) passport holders, permitting them to remain within the U.Okay. for 5 years with the flexibility to work or examine. That’s far higher than the six months beforehand allowed.

After 5 years, the passport holders will be capable to apply for settled standing and citizenship, in response to info on the U.Okay. authorities web site.

“This is a special, bespoke, set of arrangements developed for the unique circumstances we face and in light of our historic commitment to the people of Hong Kong,” mentioned Raab in Parliament.

“We want a positive relationship with China. But, we will not look the other way on Hong Kong, and we will not duck our historic responsibilities to its people,” he added.

The U.S., Australia and Taiwan are additionally trying into serving to those that wish to go away Hong Kong.

In the U.S., a bipartisan invoice often known as the “Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act” would grant Hong Kongers precedence refugee standing. Introduced in each chambers of Congress this week, the invoice would allow those that concern political persecution from China to extra shortly go away town.

Australia’s federal cupboard will have a look at proposals on easy methods to greatest assist Hong Kongers trying to transfer Down Under, The Australian reported, citing prime minister Scott Morrison.

Taiwan on Wednesday arrange an workplace to assist resettle fleeing Hong Kongers.

China’s overseas affairs ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian mentioned on Thursday afternoon that the U.Okay. must bear all penalties for providing residence permits to some Hong Kong residents, Reuters reported. He didn’t specify what these penalties can be.

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