The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a very significant offer to those eligible for a British National Overseas (BNO) passport in Hong Kong.
He has offered nearly the 3 million of such eligible people for BNO passport in Hong Kong that they will get a right to live and work in the UK with an extensible 12-month visa.
The new offer would only be worked on if China goes ahead with its new security laws that strip away the traditional freedoms of Hong Kong.
There are about 350,000 people in Hong Kong who hold the BNO passport. There are another 2.5 million people who would be eligible to apply for BNO.
Currently, their BNO passports allow them free access for a maximum period of 6 months.
The UK is very much inclined to continue its association and cooperation with China on common matters of interest like trade and issues like climate change. But in a circumstance where Hong Kong faces difficulties in matters like freedom, the goodwill of the UK’s friendly relations with Hong Kong will be upheld.
The offer also hints at further immigration rights to the BNO passport holders along with the renewable period of 12 months. They would get the right to work and could even eventually be able to take citizenship in the UK.
UK’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has stated that it’s not yet clear how many will opt to apply for the BNO passport. But he has expressed hope that in the event of a mass exodus, the burden of many people would be shared internationally.
Boris Johnson has urged China to reconsider its decisions and actions in Hong Kong. He even cited that there is a need for magnanimity that should follow the possession of power.
Hong Kong has lauded the remarkable intervention by Boris Johnson.
The Director of the human rights NGO Hong Kong Watch, Johnny Patterson stated that the UK intervention reflected the severity of matters on the ground in Hong Kong. He also said that the move in fact shows the UK’s genuine sense of duty towards Hong Kong’s citizens.
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