UPDATE: BNOs and the new pathway to citizenship for Hongkongers 香港人

Individuals who did not acquire Chinese nationality and would have been stateless on 1 July 1997 automatically became British Overseas citizens (under Article 6(1) of the Hong Kong (British Nationality Order) 1986). This generally only applied to those not ethnically Chinese. But otherwise, acquisition was not an automatic process. Eligible residents had to have applied for the status between before the end of the registration period. The deadline depended on your date of birth but the last were in 1997.

While about 3m people acquired BN(O) status, 2.5 million non-British Dependent Territories Citizens (almost all Chinese nationals) were ineligible for BN(O) status. Those ineligible who wished to register as BN(O)s were required to have been naturalised as Hong Kong-connected British Dependent Territories Citizens by 31 March 1996. Acquiring Hong Kong British Dependent Territories Citizen status other than by birth was no longer possible after that date.

With a BNO passport you will likely soon be able to use the new pathway to British citizenship, but there are also other options for Hongkongers, i.e.

1. Sole representative;
2. Tier 2 (General);
3. Start up visa;
4. Innovator visa;
5. Investor visa;
6. Global talent visa.

The next video is on how to apply for a BNO passport 在香港申請英國國民(海外)護照

The government has announced a new potential route for BNOs to secure British citizenship, by saying:

“China’s National People’s Congress has formally announced its decision to impose a national security law on the people of Hong Kong … if China goes down this path and implements this national security legislation we will be required to change the status of BN(O) passport holders and set in train arrangements which allow them to come to the UK for longer than the current six month period and to apply for extendable periods of 12 months to work and study, which itself will provide a pathway to citizenship.”

As of 24th February 2020, there was 349,881 holders of BN(O) passports and there are also around 2.9m people in Hong Kong eligible for the passport.

The British National (Overseas) passport, commonly referred to as the BN(O) passport, is a British passport for persons with British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status. The passport was first issued in 1987 after the Hong Kong Act 1985, from which this new class of British nationality was created. Holders of BN(O) passports are permanent residents of Hong Kong who were British Dependent Territories citizens until 30 June 1997 and had registered as BN(O)s.

The British National (Overseas) status itself does not automatically grant the right of abode anywhere (including the United Kingdom and Hong Kong). However, all BN(O)s possess the right of abode or right to land in Hong Kong by virtue of their previous British Dependent Territories Citizen status with connection to British Hong Kong.

Hi in this video I’m going to give you an update on the new pathway to citizenship that’s being discussed as a potential new route for beer knows to register as British citizens ultimately it would be renewable periods of 12 months and it’s been discussed in in Parliament and I’m going to just go through the details and explain both the history and the new pathway as it’s likely to be we don’t know the details yet now the starting point is are we talking here about 300,000 people or potentially 3 million and it’s that basic question which actually is ok certainly came up in discussions in Parliament but this is just a this week and this is just an extract from the response from Dominic Rob to one question pod he said this is why we’ve said that we will allow 300,000 plus passport holders along with dependents to come to the UK in a way I described and if you look at also Boris Johnson’s article this week it said today about 350,000 of the territory’s people hold British national overseas passports and another 2.5 million would be eligible to apply for them if China imposes its national security law the British government will change our immigration rules and will allow any holders of these Possible from Hong Kong to come to the UK for a renewable period of 12 months and be given further immigration rights including the right to work which could place them on a route to citizenship which is why I believe that like in all likelihood it’s going to look like this where you have a number of renewable 12-month periods but ultimately will be a six year pathway to register as a British citizen because under Section four two of the British Nationality Act you would need one clear year before registering and that’s both under the guidance and under the legislation which I’ve cited in in previous live streams so just it just to highlight another couple of points before we go into clarifying things so this is just a highlight Dominic Rob confirming that dependents would be considered for this status and then he said the purpose of offering extendable periods of 12 months is that there will be no guillotine that comes down it allows being a passport holders to come here we’re removing the six-month limitation they can apply to work and study and that will itself create a pathway to citizenship I have engaged with the Home Secretary and indeed other ministers and more consideration is being given to it so it’s still it’s still only hypothetical at the moment but it if the Chinese government has go ahead and this would come into effect now there’s one other exchange which I just wanted to highlight for you and that concerned the example of the students who hadn’t got BN o status and a Member of Parliament asked well you know what’s their position given that they may not be eligible how would you be protecting them and let me just see if I can find that for you yeah here it is so pose me a second please it’s their livestream so we’re just assuming on this exchange here so this was the question from Wendy Chamberlin to domini grab yesterday I was contacted by a constituent who is an overseas student Essent Andrews University he did not apply for a be no passport at the time the original offer because he was a toddler and his parents did not apply on his behalf I welcomed the foreign secretary statement but there are many Hong Kong citizens who like my constituent did not receive a being no possible in the first place and missed out will he consider the proposal made by my right honourable friend the man for me and Shetland to offer a pathway for all Hong Kong citizens and Dominic Rob said we need to be realistic about the volume of people that we in this country could credibly and responsibly absorb which as I said there’s a reason why there was this ambiguity and certainly what he was talking about was 300,000 rather than 3 million but this is a person in this example wouldn’t even fall within the three million category of people the government says would be eligible it wouldn’t necessarily fall within that I can’t come to the law in a minute and I do not think that we can have this debate without acknowledging that the fact is though that we have a historic sense of responsibilities as I set out earlier and we will live up to them perhaps the Honourable lady could get in touch with the Home Secretary regarding that particular case to see well what more can be done around eligibility so that that’s that that’s quite vacant I think an unsatisfactory response I would say now just to deal with the background so I’ve said it out in this in this diagram which is a timeline in chronology but essentially on individuals who did not this is just from the YouTube description I’ve prepared below which you can check out below and also from my blog individuals who did not acquire a Chinese nationality and would have been stateless on the 1st of July 97 automatically became British overseas citizens under Article 6 1 of the Hong Kong British nationality order 1986 but this generally only applied to those not ethnically Chinese so this was the part of it that was automatic in 1997 but otherwise acquisition was not an automatic process eligible residents had to have applied for the status before the end of the registration period and the deadline depended on your date of birth but the last of these were in 1997 so it was necessary to register within the registration period so about 3 million people according to the government acquired via no status something like 2.5 million non-British dependent territories citizens almost all Chinese nationals were ineligible for BN o status those ineligible who wish to register as BN OS were required to have been naturalized as Hong Kong connected British dependent territories citizens by 31st of March 96 and then acquiring Hong Kong British dependent territories citizen status other than by birth was no longer possible after that date so when so for this individual that’s being talked about the example of the student when he says what more can be done around eligibility does that suggest that they might consider extending this beyond the three million people to two other two others who are not eligible for the passport because they missed the boat and did not automatically acquire B no status and that that’s an important question and the other the other question is who are the balance of you know did the 3 million people they these are people who the government says are eligible for the passport but the once you registered that passport itself didn’t confer status according to the guidance it was according to the government it was issued to people but of course if it expired then you would still have B&O status so in other words the being a possible is simply confirmation of status for those who registered and as I say for that narrow class of people who automatically became beer nose and I was just going to show you the guidance so this is the guidance issued by the government on in July 2017 which stated I’ve just highlighted this at the bottom as let me just zoom into this so it says as an application to register as a British national overseas was made at the same time as an application for a passport registration in the UK was done by the passport service arrangements were also made in the order which is cited there to allow governor’s in the British overseas territories to register people as British nationals overseas and then it says this would quite importantly I’m determination of applications where an application was approved the holder would have been issued with a passport describing the holder as a British national overseas they will not have been issued with a certificate of registration and then it says this the bit I’ve highlighted here if you need to check whether an individual is a British national overseas you can contact the no team in her majesty’s passport office so essentially the it appears that the other three million or you know 2.7 million people who are being referred to here by the government must have been people who the government assesses has having been issued a B no passport but where that passport must have expired and in that case you can apply for a B no passport now I do understand that many people just allowed there being a possible to lapse because it essentially was described as no more than that than a travel document really insofar as it just allows you to travel visa-free for the purposes of visiting for up to six months so it wasn’t particularly powerful document so it may be the reason so many lapsed or seem to have elapsed he’s is because of that but now that it’s taking on this new significance or potential significance I would add giving this potential pathway to registering as a British citizen I’ve outlined before and through renewable 12-month periods in light of that then you might want to consider applying for a possible if you have BN o status now if you’re not sure what do you have BN o status or you’re not sure whether it was issued factually perhaps because of your age you can see here that the application requires the u state you’ll be a no passport number and also requires that you have produced immigration documents so what I was going to highlight here is that you can make a subject access request to emergencies possible office and I’m going to be doing this for a couple of clients just to secure further information where the passport has been has been lost and there’s a lack of information there was insufficient information to actually make the make the application for a no passport so it may ultimately be that the – you know the applications go hand in hand in other words you do when you’re making a subject to access requests for information about V&O status it that’s not necessarily doesn’t necessarily have to be done through this form so in theory you could make the application this subjects access request as part of your application for a passport but that may lead to administer difficulty so given did these are new developments and I’m going to be in the process of requesting information on behalf of clients then I will keep you updated if you do want don’t hesitate to go on the details below I have a an email address you can contact me there or touch base with me on WhatsApp you should take legal advice on your individual circumstances this videos is not advice but just for information purposes only and I would be delighted to help you if you

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