Britain has received SIX times as many visa applications from Hong Kong as from the EU since the introduction of new rules
- The UK received 34,000 visa applications from the former colony in the first quarter of 2021
- The total number of visa applications from the EU was only 5,354 due to Covid and Brexit rules
- More than 300,000 Hong Kong residents predicted the move to the UK
The number of Hong Kong residents applying for a UK visa this year is smaller than the number of applications from the European Union, a report revealed Thursday.
In the first quarter of 2021, Britain received 34,000 visa applications from the former British colony, compared to just 5,354 total visa applications from the EU, according to the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory.
It comes after plans were drawn up last year to allow UK national (overseas) (BNO) citizens and their relatives living in Hong Kong to apply for visas to live and work in the UK.
The scheme went into effect on Jan. 31 after Beijing imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong last year in widely condemned crackdown on dissent.
China had previously promised to allow Hong Kong to maintain its freedom of speech and independent justice system when it took back the colony in 1997.
The UK government has predicted that the scheme – open to those with British National Overseas (BNO) passports, special status created before 1997 and held by nearly 3 million Hong Kong residents – will reach more than 300,000 people and their families. could attract.
About 300,000 people from Hong Kong could arrive in the first year after the visa became available in January, estimates from Interior Ministry officials suggest (stock photo)
Meanwhile, new post-Brexit rules have made it more difficult for Europeans to start a new life in Britain.
The Migration Observatory confirmed that the low use of EU visas reflected new post-Brexit realities, including the end of freedom of movement, while also mentioning the effect of the Covid crisis.
“In normal times, we might have expected employers to scramble to figure out what to do to recruit EU nationals after the end of free movement,” said Madeleine Sumption, the Observatory’s director.
‘But because of the pandemic, many employers do not yet have to use the new immigration system.
“So it may take some time before we get a good idea of how many EU citizens are moving to the UK under the new rules and what their impact appears to be.”
EU citizens who lived in Great Britain before 2021 can apply for permanent status through a separate scheme.