Britain stands agency on visa offer right after Beijing declares the passports will no extended be recognised for vacation, identification



a person sitting on a bench in front of a building: Britain is opening its doors to potentially millions of Hongkongers under its new visa scheme that officially launches on Sunday. Photo: Reuters


© REUTERS
Britain is opening its doors to likely thousands and thousands of Hongkongers under its new visa scheme that formally launches on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

Britain has doubled down on its provide of a pathway to citizenship for Hongkongers, vowing not to “seem the other way” soon after Beijing stated it would prevent recognising the British Nationwide (Overseas) passport as a journey or identification doc.

London’s vow to stand organization on its visa plan arrived as Hong Kong immigration officers instructed airlines on Friday night not to take BN(O) passports as a journey doc, in accordance to a supply with immediate understanding of the order.

BN(O) ticket to Britain: not everyone can stroll in, and it’s not totally free

Airways were being reminded to abide by the new policies or possibility breaking portion 40 of the Immigration Ordinance, which targets the arrival of plane passengers in Hong Kong without the need of a legitimate vacation doc. Airlines and involved get-togethers in breach of the laws confront a fantastic of HK$10,000.

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Primary Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “We have been obvious that we will not appear the other way when it will come to Hong Kong people with British Nationwide (Overseas) position who now have a selection to appear and dwell and perform and examine in the Uk.

“And it remains the situation that BN(O)s and their family members can use documentation other than BNO passports to vacation and enter the Uk,” he included.

China’s declaration that it would no more time recognise from Sunday the BN(O) passport as a travel or identification document was its initial formal act of retaliation against the British scheme.

It came on Friday afternoon, a number of hrs just after London released aspects of the software system for the new visa that will formally launch at 5pm, also on Sunday.

Beijing may perhaps retaliate more in opposition to Britain’s offer of a pathway to citizenship for 5.4 million suitable Hongkongers.

“The UK’s go grossly violates China’s sovereignty, interferes in Hong Kong affairs and China’s interior affairs, and operates counter to global regulation and standard norms governing global relations,” international ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reported on Friday.

Beijing, Hong Kong reject BN(O) passports, tougher action looms

In accordance to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed right before the 1997 return of Hong Kong to China, the BN(O) passport was to be a journey doc only, and did not entail citizenship.

The Hong Kong federal government followed up with a assertion on Friday night time echoing Beijing’s placement and declaring that with effect from January 31, BN(O) passports could no for a longer time be used for immigration clearance and would not be recognised as evidence of identification.

“When passengers board flights for Hong Kong, airlines must need Hong Kong people anxious to present their HKSAR passports or Hong Kong lasting identification playing cards as evidence,” the assertion reported.

Hong Kong immigration officers reminded airlines that if a passenger did not have valid vacation files, they really should verify the traveller’s standing with the department ahead of letting them to fly.



text: The new visa offers everyone with BN(O) status and their dependants a pathway to British citizenship. Photo: Fung Chang


© Delivered by South China Morning Post
The new visa features everyone with BN(O) position and their dependants a pathway to British citizenship. Photograph: Fung Chang

Beijing also accused Britain of playing politics in the title of problem for Hongkongers.

In a separate assertion, Britain’s international office claimed it was “dissatisfied but not stunned” by China’s final decision to prevent recognising BN(O) passports.

The fast effect on BN(O) passport holders could be negligible at this stage, observers reported, provided that most eligible Hongkongers had been recognised to use their Hong Kong passports, or other vacation files if they held twin citizenship.

Residents travelling in and out of mainland China would only have to use their house-return permits.

The new visa will allow all people with BN(O) status and their dependents to keep in the place for up to five several years, with the ideal to get the job done and research, and to utilize for citizenship just after 6 several years.



Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: Reuters


© Furnished by South China Morning Submit
British Primary Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Reuters

The British governing administration previous Oct estimated that much more than 1 million Hongkongers could possibly emigrate over the up coming 5 a long time, although that was an extraordinary forecast and a more possible range was about 320,000.

Also on Saturday, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah reported that no portion of the 1984 joint declaration afforded Britain any enduring rights more than Hong Kong, or imposed on the state any obligations to its previous colony.

In her weekly website, Cheng reported the declaration – London and Beijing’s signed arrangement on the conditions of the Hong Kong handover – reflected the “one particular nation, two units” coverage, the basic principle under which the town is governed.

“There is no clause that supplies for British rights or obligations to Hong Kong right after the city’s reunification with the motherland,” she wrote.

BN(O) visa to make it possible for staggered arrivals of effective Hong Kong family candidates

Cheng referred to a 2019 speech by Xie Feng, the former commissioner of China’s foreign ministry, in which he claimed: “The Uk has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or correct of ‘supervision’ around Hong Kong in any way right after the latter returned to China.”

Cheng also pointed to agreements among the two sides from that time on the issue of nationality, in which London pledged not to confer the correct of abode in Britain on BN(O) passport holders who are Chinese nationals in Hong Kong.

She added such memorandums continue to held bodyweight underneath the Worldwide Law Commission’s guiding rules.

Civil provider secretary Patrick Nip Tak-kuen was also questioned on Saturday if public sector employees would have to give up their BN(O) passports, with lots of on the governing administration payroll both keeping the doc or eligible for one.

“While the nearby authorities had stated that BN(O) passports can no for a longer time be utilised as a travel document and proof of identity, the subject should really not be baffled with the arrangement of the nationalities of civil servants. We are acting in accordance with the existing provisions of the Primary Legislation and the regulations of Hong Kong,” he stated.

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