July 23, 2020, 01.09 PM

LONDON, KOMPAS.com — The British government will open a UK citizenship path for eligible Hong Kongers starting in January 2021.

This special citizenship law is further evidence of the British government’s step toward solidifying a policy frowned upon by China.

The UK’s Home Office stated that holders of the British National Overseas passport and their immediate family members are allowed to move to Great Britain for work and study purposes.

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The UK opted for this significant change in its immigration laws after Beijing imposed a new, sweeping national security law on Hong Kong.

Today’s announcement shows the UK is keeping its word: "We will not look the other way on Hong Kong, and we will not duck our historic responsibilities to its people,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

There are around 3 million people eligible for the British National Overseas passport in Hong Kong.

Britain announced in early July that it was extending residency rights to those individuals.

The British government has asserted its commitment to uphold its duty to the former British colony after the new law was enforced by Beijing.

Eligible individuals from Hong Kong currently can come to the UK for six months without a visa. They will have the right to live and work in the country for five years.

After that, they will be allowed to apply for settled status and then again for citizenship.

Those eligible can access the British job market at any skill level and without a salary threshold, but won’t have access to public funds.

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The UK introduced a special, limited type of British nationality in the 1980s for people who were a “British dependent territories citizen by connection with Hong Kong.”

The passports did not confer nationality or the automatic right to live and work in Britain, but entitled holders to consular assistance from UK diplomatic posts.

Britain handed over Hong Kong, its former colony, to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “One Country, Two Systems” framework that was supposed to guarantee the city a high degree of autonomy and Western-style civil liberties not seen on mainland China.

(Writers: Sylvia Hui, Danica Kirka)

Source: https://apnews.com/32b25209ce0f1742e8f75de1827e2f7e

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