Terming China’s new safety legislation for Hong Kong a ‘clear and critical breach’ of the settlement that preceded the 1997 handover, the Boris Johnson authorities on Wednesday hit again at Beijing and provided a brand new citizenship path to residents of the previous British colony.
In strongly-worded statements, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and international secretary Dominic Raab instructed parliament that the legislation violates the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration below which Hong Kong’s autonomy was assured below the ‘one nation, two programs’ precept for a interval of 50 years. It additionally violates China’s and Hong Kong legal guidelines, they claimed.
Raab mentioned the UK will work with companions the world over to make sure that China lives as much as its obligations to uphold the rule of worldwide legislation. The European Union on Wednesday additionally termed the legislation as a violation of the pre-handover settlement.
Raab instructed the Home of Commons that there can be no restrict to the quantity of people that might use the brand new pathway and enter the UK, however official estimates put the determine of BNO holders and their dependants at practically three million.
The bespoke immigration route will enable BNOs to come back to the UK with out the present six- month restrict, granting them 5 years restricted depart to stay, with the power to reside and work. After these 5 years, they are going to be capable to apply for settled standing and, after an additional 12 months with that standing, apply for citizenship.
Raab, mentioned: “We is not going to look the opposite means on Hong Kong, and we is not going to duck our historic obligations to its individuals. We’ll honour our dedication to vary the preparations for these holding BNO standing and proceed to face up for the individuals of Hong Kong.”
Residence Secretary Priti Patel added: “China’s choice to impose nationwide safety laws on Hong Kong is deeply regrettable. Now China have imposed this legislation we’ll launch a brand new immigration route for British Nationals Abroad and their households.
“The UK has a historic and ethical obligation to British Nationals Abroad in Hong Kong and we’ll honour our dedication to them.”
The BNO standing was created by Article 4(1) of the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986 which got here into impact on 1 July 1987. As of February 2020, there are 349,881 holders of BNO passports; the federal government estimates there are round 2.9 million BNOs at present in Hong Kong.