Rift in China: Thousands flee Hong Kong after UK’s new visa route opens

Around 7,000 Hong Kong have fled the UK as China enforces a national security law on Hong Kong and the British government expects that there will be more than 300,000 to gain extended residency rights per AP over the next five years.

why it matters: The UK opened the new visa scheme on Sunday as a declaration – a day after China said it would not recognize the passports of Hong Kong’s British National Overseas (BNO) as valid travel documents or proof of identity.

Driving news: The UK government announced last July when security legislation passed a new path of British citizenship for Hong Kongers who were eligible for BNO status, before the British government handed over its former colony back to China in 1997 in the city Was given to the occupants.

  • Under the proposal, these Hong Kongers and their dependents have the right to remain in the United Kingdom for five years during which they can work or study.
  • They will then be allowed to apply for “settled status” and, after an additional year, citizenship, Axios Dave Lawler notes.

big picture: Some Hongkongers told the AP that they are leaving because they worry that they will be punished for their support of the pro-democracy protest movement – which has seen many prominent people arrested or jailed in recent months.

  • “Many others” said China eroded the high degree of autonomy they previously enjoyed “unbearable”, and they want their children to have a better future.
  • “Most say they never plan to return,” AP notes.


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