The National People’s Congress decided to establish a National Security Law for the Hong Kong area. UK government paid close attention to it. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, said that he planned to extend the BN(O) stay period from 6 months to 12 months, during which they could work and study. Indicate the expansion of BN(O) rights. However, the devil is in the details. The UK government‘s speech is still very vague. Hong Kong people’s right to abode in the UK through BN(O) is still fundamentally questionable.
How would BN(O) rights change?
Originally, BN(O) holders can stay as a visitor in the UK for 6 months without a visa, but they only stay and cannot work during the period. If they work, they have to apply separately.
However, according to Dominic Raab‘s latest lecture, the period of staying in the UK is going to extend to 12 months, eligible to work and study, and it is extendable (extendable periods of 12 months). Undoubtedly, this is a big improvement.
Become more easier to apply for British citizenship?
According to relevant UK regulations, to obtain British citizenship, first you must live in the UK for 12 months, and obtain a permanent residence permit (Indefinite Leave to Remain, ILR). ILR holders can apply for citizenship in the UK for 5 years.
BN(O) holders have to follow the procedures to apply for citizenship, which takes quite a long time. According to some BN(O) affirmatives, UK government have no clear response to the request of BN(O) holders to set up fast track.
UK Government has retention
However, the situation in Hong Kong is changing rapidly, and there is retension for the UK government to speak up. Priti Patel, Secretary of HM Home Office, expressed her concern about the National Security Law of Hong Kong, saying that she will work with Dominic Raab to study the method of citizenship for BN(O) holders.
It is impossible to speculate on the specific method. It is left to the UK politicians who are concerned about the Hong Kong issue, such as Labour ’s shadow foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy and others in the Parliament to ask the government for an explanation.
Deeply concerned at China's proposals for legislation related to national security in Hong Kong.— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) May 28, 2020
If imposed, @DominicRaab & I will explore options for a path to citizenship for BNO passport holders.
UK will continue to defend the rights & freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.
Why did the UK Government do a 180?
However, the position of the UK government has recently changed significantly. Following the earlier legal opinion, that the BN(O) rights are the UK internal affairs, this time the tone of speech has changed drastically and is great significance.