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Iran Press TV

British citizenship plan for Hong Kong residents leaves China less than impressed

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 31 January 2021 1:07 PM

A British plan to offer Hong Kong residents a path to British citizenship will take effect on Sunday (January 31).

From Sunday afternoon, anyone with a British National Overseas (BNO) passport and their eligible family members will be able to apply online for a visa allowing them to live and work in the United Kingdom.

Under this new visa scheme, those hoping to move have to demonstrate they have enough funds to sustain both themselves and their dependents for at least six months. Those who apply and secure the visa will be able to apply for settlement after five years.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Zhao Lijian, showed a relatively mild and standard reaction by calling the scheme a violation of China's sovereignty before adding "the British side disregarded the fact that Hong Kong returned to China 24 years ago".

While the UK government had previously planned for up to three million Hong Kong residents to potentially settle in the UK, government officials were at pains to explain why the program could attract only 300,000 Hong Kongers to Britain.

The British government has been trying to apply pressure on China to desist from asserting full sovereignty over Hong Kong since the summer of 2019.

However, despite all the tough rhetoric not only did the UK fail to influence Chinese policy but more embarrassingly for British officials all they could do in the end was to create a pathway for pro-British elements to leave Hong Kong, probably forever.

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