Following the recent announcement by the Chinese Government that it will impose a national security law on Hong Kong, in response on 1 July 2020, UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced that a bespoke new visa scheme is to be offered to all British Nationals (Overseas) (those who registered by 30 June 1997) and their dependents from Hong Kong to come to the UK to live, work or study for a period of five years. It is estimated that almost 3 million British Nationals (Overseas) could be eligible. If an applicant is successful, at the end of the five years, they will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”). Thereafter, if the applicant successfully obtains ILR then after a further one year they can apply for British citizenship.
There are no further details at this stage as to what requirements an applicant must meet, but we suspect these would be relatively straightforward. The government announcement advises that the route will be implemented in the “coming months, with exact date and further details to be announced in due course. In the meantime, we will ensure British National (Overseas) citizens who wish to come to the UK will be able to do so, subject to standard immigration checks.”
It is also unclear whether there will be a cost attached to such an application, and if so, what the cost will be. However, it is likely that each applicant will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge fee of £400.00 per applicant (including children) over the course of the five years, which is set to increase to £624.00 per adult applicant and £470.00 per child under the age of 18 from 1 October 2020. Other fees to bear in mind will be that for ILR, which is £2,389.00, and for each additional person in your application, a further fee of £50.00 will be charged. There is then also the citizenship application fee, which is £1,330.00 for naturalisation, £1,206.00 for nationality registration for adults and £1,012.00 for children. In respect of dependents, there is no clarification yet whether citizenship will be via registration or naturalisation. There may therefore be a requirement to complete the English Language Test and a Life in the UK test.
If you do not consider you would be eligible to apply for this visa once it is offered, then there are other routes you can still consider, such as a Tier 1 investor visa, a Tier 2 sponsored work visa, a Tier 4 student visa, or a spouse visa.
Such applications can be stressful and time consuming and it is important to ensure that correct information is provided to the Home Office together with all relevant documentation, as there is a risk your application could be rejected. If you have any queries or require immigration assistance, please contact Ms Rupinder Kaur Matharu.
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