The UK government recently announced the introduction of the new Hong Kong BN(O) visa (BN(O) visa).
The BN(O) visa will allow British Nationals (Overseas) (BN(O) citizens) and their immediate dependants (even if their immediate dependants are non-BNO citizens) to reside and work or study in the UK, with a pathway to settlement and then citizenship.
Applicants can apply to enter or remain in the UK for an initial period of 30 months, extendable by a further 30 months, or a single period of 5 years. After 5 years, applicants can apply to settle in the UK and after 12 months with this status they can apply for British citizenship.
There is no skills tests or minimum income requirements, economic needs tests or caps on numbers being imposed with the BN(O) visa. Also, those that apply for the visa do not need to have a job before coming to the UK; they can search for job opportunities once they are in the UK.
It is planned for the BN(O) visa to open for applications from January 2021.
BN(O) citizens and their immediate dependants can apply for the BN(O) visa. Immediate dependants are spouses or partners and children under 18. Immediate dependants do not need to have BN(O) status themselves to be eligible. In compelling and compassionate circumstances, children over 18, born after 1 July 1997 to a BN(O) registered parent who are still dependant, will be able to apply as dependants if they apply for the visa with their family as a unit.
However, dependant grandparents or other relatives will not be eligible if they are not BN(O) citizens in their own right. In exceptional circumstances, where other adult dependants are highly dependent on a BN(O) citizen, these dependants may also be eligible at the discretion of the UK Government on a case by case basis.
To be eligible for this visa route applicants need to show that they:
It should be noted that BN(O) citizens and their dependants who successfully apply will not have access to social welfare benefits, such as unemployment and housing benefit, and will be responsible for their own accommodation and maintenance. They must also pay taxes and national insurance in the UK on earnings.