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UK top choice for Hongkongers fleeing amid Beijing's draconian security law

ANI | Updated: Dec 18, 2020 16:25 IST

Hong Kong, December 18 (ANI): As the Chinese Communist Party continues to impose the draconian National Security Law (NSL), the UK comes across as an easy path to citizenship, according to Midland Immigration Consultancy.
According to the South China Morning Post, the data from midland shows that the proportion of Hong Kong people considering a move to the UK has surged to 84 per cent of total emigration enquiries this year.
"The number of Hongkongers who liked the UK showed the largest increase because the threshold for Britain is the lowest among [choices like] Australia, Canada," said Tina Cheng, senior strategy director at Midland. "Hong Kong people simply holding BN(O) can apply to move to England, with almost no other requirement than living there for a period of time."
British National (Overseas) passports [BN(O)] were issued to Hongkongers born before the 1997 handover. Beijing's suppression of pro-democracy voices through the law has prompted citizens to think about relocating, the South China Morning Post reported further. The British home secretary, Priti Patel said that the authoritarian law was a breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and it "could not be ignored.
The UK, in October, announced that it would create a special class of visa next January for Hong Kong holders of BN(O) passports and their close family members as the first step in a new pathway for full British citizenship.

"This has prompted a lot of Hong Kong families holding BN(O) passports to start thinking about the UK to secure what they see as a good education and life for the next generation," South China Morning Post reported.
After Australia announced the extension of temporary graduation and work visas in July for Hong Kong people and Canada also announcing relaxations for immigration, interests among Hong Kongers for both the countries have been rising as well.
A US official in October said that residents of Hong Kong who wish to leave after the passage of Beijing's draconian National Security law are welcome to the United States.
National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said that "something close to" a genocide of Uygurs was happening in Xinjiang and called on Taiwan to bolster its defences against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
"It'd be great if we had more immigrants from Hong Kong. They're terrific people," he said as quoted by the South China Morning Post and added, "Anyone who's been to Hong Kong and spent time there, it's sad what's going to happen. Hong Kong has been fully absorbed into China."
Anti-government protests have been rocking Hong Kong since last year. The enactment of draconian national security law in Hong Kong in June to stop people from protesting has intensified the demonstrations.
The national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong criminalises any act of secession (breaking away from China), subversion (undermining the power or authority of the central government), terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life in prison. It came into effect from July 1. (ANI)