Who from Hong Kong will be able to settle in the UK under the new route?
The Home Office has announced a new visa route to settling in the UK open to British Nationals (Overseas) who are ordinarily resident in Hong Kong. It applies to them even if they are in the UK as visitors and therefore a BN(O) citizen visiting the UK for six months could apply in-country from 1st January 2021 to remain on this new route.
For a period of ten years prior to the UK’s handover of Hong Kong on 1st July 1997, Hong Kong residents were able to apply for this unique status enabling them to get British passports, obtain British consular assistance around the world and to travel to the UK as visitors, visa-free for six months per year.
For anyone born from 1st July 1997 onward, they have not been able to apply for BN(O) status, BN(O) status cannot be passed on to descendants and it is estimated that approximately 2.9 million people remain with such a status.
BN(O) citizens will now be able to apply to settle in the UK from 1st January 2021 without needing to go through with getting sponsorship. It will be possible for a BN(O) citizen who is visiting the UK to apply to stay in the UK under a five-year route to settlement so long as he or she makes the application in-time ahead of the date in their visit visa stamp expiring.
In our observation, this may be similar to the Ancestry route to settling in the UK but exact requirements can be discussed with us.
Will I be able to bring my family with me to stay in the UK?
Applicants will be able to apply to bring their dependants including spouses and children under 18. In some exceptional cases, applicants will be able to include dependent parents or children over the age of 18 on a case-by-case basis and even where those parents or children do not themselves have BN(O) status.
What documents will I need to apply?
Applicants will not need to have a BN(O) passport but if they do have these then they should be included in their applications or else if they have gone missing, then details should be used. Applicants will not need to have English language testing until applying for indefinite leave to remain in five years’ time. Applicants coming to the UK under this route (as opposed to visitors) will need to have been screened for tuberculosis. They also need to demonstrate they will be able to maintain and accommodate themselves for six months without recourse to public funds.
Will I be able to stay in the UK permanently?
On getting the visa, holders will be able to live in the UK for five years, be able to work, study and set up business but they will not be able to claim public funds. After five years on being eligible for indefinite leave to remain they will need to show all the usual requirements have been met such as not having significant absences and not being in breach of the Immigration Rules or having criminal convictions.
Vestra Lawyers are able to help prepare and submit applications under this route. Please contact us on 01217285999, firstname.lastname@example.org or else leave an enquiry on our website www.vestralawyers.com and we can discuss how best we can help.