LONDON (Feb 2): The UK has opened a path to citizenship for holders of a particular Hong Kong passport created earlier than the town’s return to Chinese language rule in 1997.

These with British Nationwide (Abroad) passports, or who’re eligible for them, can apply with their shut relations to enter Britain for as much as 5 years, after which they will apply for settlement. The transfer by the UK comes as tensions rise with China over its crackdown on political freedoms within the former British colony, together with the passage of a nationwide safety legislation final June. The large unknown is how many individuals could find yourself leaving for the UK below this route.

By the numbers

• 300,000 — Roughly how many individuals the UK estimates could come from Hong Kong.
• £12,000 — How a lot it might value a household of 4 to get five-year visas, equal to some US$16,500.
• US$36 billion — Doable emigration-related outflows to the UK this yr, in line with Financial institution of America estimates.

Why it issues

China is warning Hong Kongers to not reap the benefits of the UK supply, and ties with the British authorities are set to deteriorate additional, simply because the UK seeks to forge post-Brexit commerce ties with Beijing. There are already underlying tensions over Britain’s criticism of China after long-running pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have been violently put down, and with opposition lawmakers arrested. Britain can be shifting to ban Chinese language telecommunication large Huawei from supplying its 5G networks.

Relying on how many individuals apply for the visas, billions of might move into the UK from the Asian monetary hub, particularly into property purchases in London and main centres like Larger Manchester.

However it’s unclear if the 300,000 arrivals estimated by the British authorities will occur. There are excessive prices concerned, and candidates should show they might be financially self-sufficient. Taxes are a lot increased within the UK than in Hong Kong.

The mix of the pandemic and upheaval attributable to Brexit might heighten competitors for jobs within the UK. And the anti-immigration rhetoric that swirled round Brexit could depart some questioning how welcome they would actually be.

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