Opportunities for Hong Kong nationals

Published: 07/04/2021 By Tracy Evlogidis, Withersworldwide

Whilst it is still possible for foreign investors to buy and own property in the UK without requiring any form of immigration status, there are also many options available to enable investors to live in the UK and allow their children to benefit from the prestigious educational system.
The British Government introduced a new visa for British Nationals Overseas (BNOs), currently resident in Hong Kong.  This visa potentially offers a route to the UK for an estimated 2.9m people who registered as BNOs before 1997 when Hong Kong ceased to be a UK territory and became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
With no minimum financial threshold (other than sufficient funds for maintenance), this immigration route will allow applicants to work, study, be self-employed or self-sufficient in the UK, giving BNOs and their families a wide remit in the UK, compared to other immigration categories.  The visa can be granted to BNOs, the dependant family members, and their adult children who are members of their household for up to 5 years. After 5 years of continuous residence in the UK, the visa holder can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, giving them the right to live in the UK indefinitely, and the following year being eligible to apply for British Citizenship, should they wish.
The provisions of the visa are very generous, not only by the lack of conditions imposed upon the applicant but also because of the extent of family members who can apply as part of the BNO status holder's dependants, including:
·their dependant partner;
·their children or grandchildren under the age of 18; and
·in limited circumstances, other dependant family members such as parent or grandparent of the BNO citizen.
Other household members who could also qualify include adult children born on or after 1 July 1997 of a BNO citizen, provided they form part of the same household.
The British Government are also keen to continue to attract talent to the UK and in their Budget statement of March 2021, the Chancellor announced a number of new immigration categories including:
·Global talent visa;
·Highly skilled migrant;
·innovator visa;
·Global Business Mobility visa for overseas businesses to establish a presence or transfer staff to the UK; and
·expansion of the Global Entrepreneur Programme
UK Plc is clearly open for business…
With a dedicated immigration team in the UK and an office in Hong Kong, we are well placed to advice people on their global mobility needs and guide them through the different options available to them.

   Tracy Evlogidis
   Partner/Head of London Immigration Practice