Skip to content

Britain opens the door to extend Hong Kong rights with the British passport

May 29, 2020

The British government has admitted that it is considering ways to expand the rights of Hong Kong citizens who have the passport issued to residents of former colonies, given the controversy surrounding criticism of Beijing after the introduction of a new national security law for Hong Kong.

Currently, holders of these overseas passports (BNO) have the right to visit the UK for six months without applying for a visa. The authorities estimate that around 300,000 people live in Hong Kong with this right, according to the BBC’s public service broadcaster.

UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab has warned that London “will suspend the six-month period and allow BNO passport holders to travel to the UK to apply for work and study if Beijing finally passes the national security law for an extended 12-month period.” These permits could “a way for a future nationality”.

Britain opens the door to extend Hong Kong rights with the British passportBritain opens the door to extend Hong Kong rights with the British passport

Several MPs went even further and applied for the automatic citizenship of these people in Hong Kong, which the government has already considered impracticable last year by appealing to the commitments it has made. London therefore estimates that this would result in a breach of the agreement after the United Kingdom ceded Hong Kong’s sovereignty to China in 1997.

However, the British executive has led the United States with international criticism of recent movements in the main Chinese legislature, which on Thursday gave the green light to a law that punishes turmoil, treachery, separatism, and foreign interference. The Boris Johnson government claims that this reform questions the “one country, two systems” principle.