59 minutes ago
Mark Easton, Column May (BBC News)
This special visa system was established after the introduction of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, which was once a British territory. So far, there have been about 27,000 applications.
Special visas are available to approximately 2.9 million British National (BNO) passport holders and 2.3 million dependents of Hong Kong citizens born before the 1997 return to Hong Kong.
The BNO passport is originally a travel permit and only allows you to travel to the UK for 6 months without a visa. It does not automatically allow holders to work or live, nor is it covered by social security.
However, under this special visa system, the target person can stay in the UK for 5 years and can work and attend school. Five years later, he will be able to apply for permanent residence, and staying for another year will qualify him for citizenship.
Britain’s housing minister, Jenrik, told the BBC that he would like to provide “necessary” support to prospective immigrants.
“If people are suffering, we will support them.”
“The local government will provide housing for them and the social security system will be the backing. We will provide all the support the country can do to prevent any one from falling into a difficult situation.” ..
Following China’s passage of a national security law that could facilitate the punishment of Hong Kong protesters and undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy, the United Kingdom introduced a special visa system for BNO holders.
Britain claims that national security law violates Hong Kong’s freedom and rights.
Flooded with visa applications
British government sources said securing schools was a “urgent” issue, as many new immigrants have children.
If the number of visa applications increases at this pace, it will far exceed the 154,000 immigrants in the first year of the system, which is predicted by the British Home Office.
Jenrik hopes that newcomers from Hong Kong will make a “true significant contribution” to the UK, and that many have teaching, medical and engineering qualifications. Stated.
However, community groups have long been concerned that BNO visa holders may need help finding jobs and housing.
About 7,000 people have already arrived in the UK, said Jave’s Lamb, manager of the charity Hackney Chinese Community Services. Many people book accommodation through hotels or the US private lodging agency site AirBnB, and look for rental housing while staying.
“We believe that if lockdown (for the new coronavirus) is mitigated, that percentage will accelerate.”
Mr. Lam’s charity has already raised concerns with the government about newcomers’ school admissions and the right to sign rental contracts.
He also urged police to step up their response to supporters of the Chinese government in the United Kingdom, which could target Hong Kongers.
Simon Cheng, chairman of another charity, Hong Kongers, said the British government should also provide support to those who have participated in protests against the Chinese government but are not eligible for a BNO visa. ..
“The BNO visa system is like a lifeboat system that rescues people from tyranny. Some people actually need help for resettlement, to contribute more to the British economy and democracy. Some people will need a foundation. “
BNO visa holders are not allowed to rely on public funds in the UK, but the UK government will provide support to those in poverty to access public housing and other benefits. There is a possibility.
Twelve virtual “welcome hubs” will be set up to provide access to housing, education and employment.
In addition, teaching materials on the historical connection between Britain and Hong Kong will be distributed to schools.