Huge £43m fund is set up to help families fleeing crackdown in Hong Kong to settle in UK
- New visa announced for residents of Hong Kong fleeing a crackdown in Beijing
- The £43million support fund was announced by the UK Government last night
- Under the scheme those who are eligible can apply for visas and then citizenship
Families moving from Hong Kong to Britain will be offered help to set up businesses and find school places.
A new visa has been introduced for residents of the former colony fleeing a crackdown by Beijing.
A £43million fund was announced by the Government last night to assist their integration into the UK.
They will be able to get help with housing, work and educational support.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: ‘We are a champion of freedom and democracy and will live up to our responsibilities to the people of Hong Kong, so these families will come to find the UK a place they can call home.’
Families coming to live in the UK from Hong Kong using a new visa route will benefit from a support package worth £43 million, the Government has announced. Pictured: Hong Kong
The Hong Kong British national (overseas) visa, or BNO, was promised after China imposed new security measures on the former British colony.
Under the new scheme, those with BN(O) status will be eligible for UK visas then, after five years, they will be able to apply for settlement, followed by British citizenship after a further 12 months.
As of March 19, approximately 27,000 BN(O) status holders and their family members had applied for a visa since January.
Between 123,000 and 153,700 BN(O) status holders and their dependents are expected to use the route to the UK in the first year, rising to between 258,000 and 322,400 over five years.
John Song, from grassroots advocacy organisation Stand with Hong Kong, said: ‘Providing these supports and education programmes will be vital to help Hongkongers fleeing to the UK to settle and integrate.
‘However, as the joint signatory of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the UK also has a responsibility to hold China to account for its gross human rights violations.
Pictured: A demonstrator holds up a placard at Hong Kong Democracy Protest in London
‘The UK needs to send a clear message to China that destroying Hong Kong’s autonomy has consequences.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘We are working hard to successfully resettle people here and recognise there is nothing more difficult than leaving your home to rebuild a life in a new country.
‘I know communities up and down our country will welcome new arrivals with open arms and support them to build a new life in the UK.’