UK’s BNO passport policy ‘a cunning trick, only lip service’

By Leng Shumei Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/6 21:13:41

Hong Kong residents tear up BNO passports in front of the consulate to protest against UK interference over the national security law. Photo: Courtesy of Ko Chung Kit Jacky

 The UK government's renewed provisions on the British Nationals (Overseas) (BNO) passport in Hong Kong, requiring BNO holders to come to the UK as a family, further shows that the policy is just lip service, a cunning trick in international relations, experts said. 

The UK Home Office on Monday updated BNO provisions, saying that BNO holders "should travel together to the UK as a family." 

"The renewal is so ridiculous," Victor Chan Chi-ho, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Young Commentators, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Chan said many BNO holders used to send their children to study in the UK, but they themselves stayed in Hong Kong as they cannot get a job in the UK or afford the whole family living in the country. 

But the renewal, on one hand, raised these people's immigration costs; on the other hand, it makes applicants risk losing their Chinese citizenship, Chan said, noting that only a few people would apply for the BNO route after such a renewal. 

A person has to stay in the UK for five years before being allowed to apply for permanent residence, and has to wait for at least another year before getting residence. Some Hong Kong media reported that a family of four would need about HK$ 5 million for the six years. 

In fact, people who want to immigrate have already done so and wouldn't need to wait for such a policy, said Victor Chan. 

As the Hong Kong SAR passports have become more popular, the numbers of BNO holders have largely declined in recent years.?The number of BNO holders in Hong Kong dropped from 800,000 in 2007 to 140,000 in 2015, media reports showed.

The move fully shows that the BNO policy is just lip service, Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs from Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"They think they should show some attitude on the Hong Kong-related issues due to its colonial history. But it actually does nothing for Hong Kong residents," Li noted.   

The latest renewal revealed that the UK bears no kindness to Hong Kong. They just want to attract Hong Kong talent, techniques or money to stimulate its sluggish economy after Brexit, some experts said.   

Hong Kong resident are not stupid and they would see through the UK's intentions and figure out what is better for their future development, experts and Hong Kong residents reached by the Global Times said. 


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