Around 88,000 Hong Kongers applied to settle in the UK under a new visa that opens the door to citizenship, the British government announced as it published a report condemning China’s crackdown on dissent in its former colony.
In January, the UK opened a new visa process for more than 5 million Hong Kongers in response to the national security law imposed by Beijing in June 2020, which served to quell opposition in Hong Kong following protests in 2019.
London sees this law as a violation of the promise made by Beijing to maintain Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy following its handover to China in 1997. “At the end of September, 88,000 people applied for a visa under this program,” said British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
Applicants must hold a British overseas passport, issued to Hong Kongers born before the colony was returned to China in 1997 and their minor children. The British government expected almost 154,000 applications in the first year of the scheme, and 322,000 in the first five years as a whole.