Praveen Yadav | Nov 14, 2021 | 0
UK launches special visa scheme for Hong Kong residents
From today, the UK is opening a special visa scheme that will allow lakhs of Hong Kong residents a chance to migrate and eventually apply for British citizenship. From Sunday afternoon, anyone with a British National (Overseas) passport and their dependents will be able to apply online for a visa allowing them to live and work in the United Kingdom. After five years they can then apply for citizenship.
The immigration scheme is a response to Beijing’s decision last year to impose a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong to snuff out huge and often violent anti-Beijing protests. Britain has accused China of tearing up its promise ahead of Hong Kong’s 1997 handover that the financial hub would maintain key liberties and autonomy for 50 years. London argued it has a moral duty to protect its former colonial subjects.
“We have honoured our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong, and we have stood up for freedom and autonomy,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of the scheme this week.
WHY DID THE UK ANNOUNCE THIS SCHEME IN THE 1ST PLACE?
At 11 PM on June 30, an hour before the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s transfer from Britain, China implemented its far-reaching new national security law for Hong Kong, greatly expanding Beijing’s power in the city. Under the law, four widely defined offences can invite life imprisonment as the maximum punishment, followed by lesser penalties. Britain called its implementation a “grave step”.Prime Minister Boris Boris Johnson called the imposition of the security law “a serious and clear breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration”, referring to a 1984 treaty between the two countries under which China promised to honour Hong Kong’s liberal policies, system of governance, an independent judiciary, and individual freedoms for a period of 50 years from 1997. Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said that would not duck its “historic responsibilities” to the people of Hong Kong.
But the China criticised the UK move, it’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian saying, “The British side disregarded the fact that Hong Kong returned to China 24 years ago”.
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