A Liberal Democrat Bill to grant all Hong Kong Citizens a pathway to UK citizenship and “strengthen the UK’s historic bond with the people of Hong Kong” is scheduled to have its Second Reading debate in the House of Commons today.
The Bill, tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong and Patron of Hong Kong Watch, would create a route to UK citizenship for all Hong Kongers.
By expanding British National Overseas (BNO) status to all Hong Kongers, the Bill goes well beyond the Conservative Government’s current citizenship commitments, which extend only to specific groups currently eligible to claim BNO status.
The Liberal Democrats have condemned the Home Office’s “deceptive” claim that the cost of a five-year visa for Hong Kongers will be just £250, as the true figure will be well over £3000 once the Immigration Health Surcharge is taken into account.
Ahead of the Bill’s scheduled calling, Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat MP, Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong and Patron of Hong Kong Watch said:
“Many Hong Kongers have suffered grave persecution at the hands of the Chinese Regime. We have a moral duty to act.
“By providing a clear route to citizenship for all Hong Kongers, my Bill will strengthen the UK’s historic bond with the people of Hong Kong and show our continued commitment to the Joint Declaration, something that the Chinese regime has utterly betrayed.
“We also need to make sure that the citizenship offer is affordable. The Home Office’s claim that it will only cost £250 is deceptive given the upfront costs of the Immigration Health Surcharge.
“I urge the Conservatives to do the right thing for all of the people of Hong Kong and back this Bill today. In addition, we need to see measures to put in place an international lifeboat system as a matter of urgency, should the situation deteriorate further.”