On 31 January 2021, The UK Government has introduced a new visa system for Hong Kong residents and their families who hold a British National Overseas (BNO) passport, offering them an opportunity to become British citizens with the ability to live, study and work there.
Savory and Partners is one of the leading Citizenship and Residency by Investment (CBI/RBI) firms in the MENA region specialising in aiding individuals and families alike to obtain second citizenship and permanent residency. We are delighted to share the news of this great opportunity that has become available to Hong Kong residents and their families.
“This is an exciting step forward, which will give millions of people from Hong Kong greater opportunities throughout the UK,” says Jeremy Savory, CEO of Savory & Partners.
We look at how this special visa came about and what it means for everyone involved.
How will it work?
The UK’s new visa program entitles anyone with a BNO passport and their dependents to apply online for a visa, which allows them to live, study and work in the UK for 5 years and eventually apply for citizenship thereafter.
What is a BNO passport?
In 1997, the United Kingdom formally handed Hong Kong over to China. To retain a link to the Asian city, all Hong Kong residents born before 1997 were given British National Overseas citizenship. BNO citizenship is a lifelong status that allows its passport holder to visit the UK for 6 months without a visa. Citizenship cannot be passed down to family members and does not give holders any special rights.
However, this new visa program will allow BNO citizens and any dependent family members to apply for two periods of 5 years to live, work and study in the UK. After the first 5 years, BNO citizens can choose to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the country – which means that they can live and work in the UK without reapplying for a visa. And once they have held this status for 1 year, these individuals become eligible to apply for British citizenship.
Why did the UK launch this new visa program?
China’s crackdown on dissent lead to imposing strict security laws in Hong Kong in retaliation to pro-democracy activism and protests in the city. This urged the British government to condemn the country’s actions and debate with the Chinese government on the issue for months.
The creation of this new visa program comes directly after China and Hong Kong announced that they will no longer recognise the BNO passport as a valid travel document as of 31 January 2021. Britain has a historical and moral commitment to Hong Kong people, and with China’s breach of the terms of the agreement under which the city was handed back in 1997, it aims to honour this now more than ever, through the launch of this special visa.
What does this mean going forward?
Many Hong Kong residents are fearful that the Chinese government will prohibit and actively stop people from leaving for the UK. And with the growing unrest and implementation of strict laws, many Hong Kong residents will likely flee the city in favour of Britain.
It is estimated that 72% of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million population will be eligible for the new program; approximately 300,000 people will take up this offer in the first 5 years.
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The UK is not the only country providing a way for foreign nationals to obtain legal permanent residence and citizenship. Countries in the Caribbean, Europe and even the South Pacific offer straightforward and efficient citizenship and residency by investment programs that allow high-net-worth individuals from the Middle East and beyond to acquire a second passport or residence permit in exchange for investing in the nation.
If you’re thinking about applying for any CBI or RBI program, be sure to render the services of an accredited and recognised advisor, like Savory & Partners.
When choosing us as your partner on this journey, you can be assured that you are in safe and capable hands. Savory & Partners is a long-standing and well-respected authorised agent that specialises in helping high-net-worth individuals secure citizenship through investment for themselves and their dependents.
The Savory & Partners team is made up of a diverse group of industry experts who span over 15 nationalities, speak over 25 languages collectively, and come with decades of accumulated CBI and RBI industry experience. Our level of expertise and competence combined with our commitment to serving our clients with the highest level of professionalism and transparency has led us to aid over 1,100 families obtain a second passport with a 100% success rate. There is no one better positioned and more trustworthy than Savory & Partners when seeking the best results on your quest to secure a better future for yourself and your family.
If you would like to apply to a Citizenship or Residency by Investment Program or would like to learn more, get in contact with us today for a free online consultation and one of our skilled agents will happily aid you in your enquiry.
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