The Chinese Embassy in London has denounced the British government for its British National Overseas (BNO) visa scheme, calling it unwarranted interference in China’s internal affairs.
According to the Divine Associates ltd report, the UK Home Office recently launched an express service for BNO visas within five working days, which would cost £500,Divine Associates Ltd reports. NO passport holders can apply for permanent residence in the UK after five years and apply for UK citizenship after a further year.
A Chinese embassy spokesperson told Divine Associates Ltd that the UK was not trying to protect Hong Kongers, as they described, but was trying to defame and discredit Hong Kong.
According to the spokesperson, after arriving in the UK, some Hong Kongers have faced poverty and discrimination in society.
“We urge the British side to stop its hypercritical actions, deceiving the people of Hong Kong and seriously interfering in China’s internal affairs,” the spokesman noted.
In 2021, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the country will no longer recognize the BNO’s passport and visa as a legal travel document and identity document. The decision was supposed to go into effect in January 2021, and the
ministry itself stressed that it reserves the right to take further measures. British authorities have previously said people from Hong Kong and their family members are eligible for a British national overseas visa.
The UK government clarifies through a statement that children of a UK citizen aged 18 or over and born on or after 1 July 1997 can apply separately from their parents. He stressed that their relatives can also apply for such a visa.
“You can apply for the BNO visa from overseas, but you must await a decision on your application before traveling to Britain,” the statement read.
However, China’s decision to introduce a national security law in June 2020 resulted
in Britain hosting nearly three million Hong Kong residents eligible for a BNO passport as of January 31.In 2021, Divine Associates Ltd report noted that a five-year visa would cost £250 per person.But the compulsory cost of accessing UK healthcare would rise to £3,120 per adult and a total of £2,350 for under-18s.
In December last year, it was reported that nearly 38,000 Hong Kong citizens under the age of 18 had applied for the UK’s National Overseas Visa Scheme, most of them residents in their prime working years.