Before handover of the UK’s responsibilities for Hong Kong, UK created the British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) nationality status this was opened to people in Hong Kong, through a registration process, to those who had British Dependent Territories citizenship. This status recognised the special ties UK has with these people as a result of UK’s role in Hong Kong before 1997. As China, through its actions, has changed the circumstances that BN(O) citizens find themselves in, the UK government have decided to change the entitlements which are attached to BN(O) status. The Home office secretary Priti Patel has decided to improve significantly those entitlements, to reassure BN(O) citizens that they have options to live in the UK, should they wish to do so.
It is not an unconditional offer. British National Overseas citizens will need to support themselves while living in the UK; they must meet strict criminality checks and stay of good character; pay visa fees, the Immigration Health Surcharge, for the use of NHS, if they subsequently apply for citizenship after they become settled, the fee and meet the criteria. BN(O) citizens will need to ask themselves whether coming to the UK to put down roots here is the right choice for them. It is a choice the sectary of state, Priti Patel is making available and welcoming warmly all those who decide to take it.
The Hong Kong BN(O) Visa for applications will open from January 2021. BN(O) citizens do not need to hold a BN(O) passport in order to apply for the British National Overseas visa – so there is no need for them to apply for, or renew, a BN(O) passport specifically for this purpose. All BN(O) citizens will need to apply and obtain a visa to be able to settle in the UK.
The offer to British National Overseas citizens is a very generous one. There are no skills tests or minimum income requirements, economic needs tests or caps on numbers. The UK is giving them the opportunity to acquire full British citizenship. Applicants do not need to have a job before coming to the UK – they can look for work once here. They may bring their immediate dependants, including non-British National (Overseas) citizens.
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British National Overseas citizens with their immediate family dependents, comprising spouse or partner and children aged under 18, will be eligible to apply for the ‘Hong Kong British National Overseas Visa’. Dependants themselves need not have BN(O) status to be eligible. Dependent grandparents or other relatives will not be eligible if they are not a BN(O) citizens in their own right.
There will be situations where the dependent children of a BN(O) citizen will not normally be eligible because they were born after 1997 (so are not BN(O) citizens) and are over 18 so would not ordinarily be considered as a dependant in the UK’s immigration system. In compelling and compassionate circumstances, the UKVI will use discretion to grant a visa to the children of a BN(O) citizen who fall into this category and who are still dependent on the BN(O) citizen. This UK government will limit the discretion ordinarily to children of BN(O) citizens who were born after the 1 July 1997 who will also be able to apply as dependants, if one of their parents holds BN(O) status and they apply together as a family unit.
In exceptional circumstances of high dependency, other adult dependants of a British National (Overseas) citizen applying for the visa may also be eligible at the UK Government’s discretion, considered on a case by case basis. Although this will not be easy to establish.
If the above doesn’t fit then the existing youth mobility scheme is also open to people in Hong Kong aged between 18-30, with 1000 places currently available each year. Individuals from Hong Kong will also be able to apply to come to the UK under the terms of the UK’s new Points Based System, which will enable individuals to come to the UK in a wider range of professions and at a lower general salary threshold than in the past. See tier 5 youth mobility visa for more info.
In addition to holding BN(O) status, applicants and their dependants must also:
The fee for the initial visa and any renewal will be announced soon. If individuals then wish to settle or obtain citizenship in the UK, each of these applications will attract additional fees. The fee for UK settlement is currently set at £2,389 and £19.20 Biometric enrolment fee, whilst citizenship applications currently costs £1,206 for adult applications.
The UK government is planning to open the Hong Kong British National Visa for applications from end of January 2021. BN(O) citizens do not need to hold a BN(O) passport in order to apply for the visa – so there is no need for them to apply for, or renew, a BN(O) passport specifically for this purpose. All BN(O) citizens will need a visa to be able to settle in the UK. Check your eligibility for the Hong Kong British National Overseas Visa here
BN(O) citizens and their dependents who come to the UK will have the following entitlements and restrictions for the period of leave granted under the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa:
BN(O) citizens and their dependants will be expected to comply with UK laws. If convicted of a criminal offence, they will be liable for removal.
Check your eligibilty and discuss your case with an immigration advisor by filling an assessment form now.
The Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Visa, also known as working holiday visa is designed for young individuals between the age of 18 years and 30 years to come to UK for a period of 24 months.
This visa is available to citizens of a few eligible countries.
You cannot get this visa if you have already had one before. You cannot bring dependants with you on this visa. You make take up employment for the entire duration of the stay.
This visa does not permit you to carry out any business activities, be a professional sports person or an entertainer.
Fill UK Tier 5 Visa assessment form to find out if you are eligible.
You must show £1,890 in savings in your bank account. Fill assessment form and find out if you qualify for the tier 5 youth mobility scheme visa.
If you are a national of Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea or Taiwan you will need to be sponsored. You need to get a certificate of sponsorship reference number before you are able to make an application.
A certificate of sponsorship is an unique reference number that has specific information about the job you will do and your personal details. This is not a certificate or paper document.
At Alliance visas we are able to process your application swiftly, help you with employment, accommodation, bank account, tax back advise and more.
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