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A path to British citizenship for Hong Kong British Nationals Overseas – could this affect your clients?

29/05/2020

Locations

United Kingdom

The UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has pledged to introduce substantial new visa rights for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) passport holders providing a path to British citizenship.

There are 300,000 BNO passport holders in Hong Kong who have the right to visit the UK for up to six months without a visa.

Without specific details of the proposals, (if enacted, which Raab suggested would depend on developments in Hong Kong) it remains to be seen how far reaching they will be but it seems that they may be exempt from a number of the normal visa restrictions to which all visa applicants from outside the EU are currently subject, such as having to leave the UK to apply for a work or study visa; having to obtain sponsorship to work or study and they may possibly be exempt from the extensive visa fees, although we will have to wait for further confirmation and specific details to know if this will be the case.

If the measures are implemented, this may open up opportunities for BNO passport holders who may feel a close connection with the UK and may be a source of welcome talent and investment into the UK from Hong Kong. A route to British citizenship would mean BNO passport holders would have security to set down roots and investments in the UK should they wish to.

Fieldfisher will continue to monitor any developments in this area closely and remain on hand to assist our trusted network of intermediaries in Hong Kong and the Far East.

Fieldfisher's immigration team have backgrounds as immigration advisors at top-tier Chambers ranked immigration firms and at the Big Four accounting firms, prior to joining Fieldfisher. They have extensive experience in assisting with the full range of UK nationality and immigration law applications from outside the UK and for those extending, including sponsored work categories such as Tier 2 and including the Tier 1 (Investor) category. We were the first firm to successfully apply for an Innovator visa for our client. We have extensive experience in advising on applications for registration or naturalisation as a British citizen, and assisting with complex nationality enquiries.

Fieldfisher also has a pre-eminent international Private Client team with extensive experience of advising Hong Kong and Chinese nationals on the UK tax implications of relocating to, and investing in, the UK. Alistair Robertson and Peter Golden, partners in the Private Client team, regularly visit the region to meet with their clients based there.

Please get in touch with Alistair Robertson or Gillian McKearney at Fieldfisher if you require further information.

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