Hong Kong to foreign governments: Stop accepting special British passport

Hong Kong to foreign governments: Stop accepting special British passport

HONG KONG The Hong Kong federal government has actually informed some foreign consulates to stop accepting a British travel file that much of its youths utilize to make an application for working vacation visas in Europe, North America, and parts of Asia, diplomats have actually stated.

In a relocation seen by some envoys as a diplomatic affront, the federal government notified about a lots foreign consulates in a letter that it no longer thought about the British National Overseas (BNO) passport a legitimate travel file since January 31.

The letter, seen by Reuters, required that its Hong Kong passport must be utilized rather.

A diplomatic row broke out over the BNO in January after Britain presented a brand-new visa plan providing a path to complete citizenship for Hongkongers who wish to leave the Chinese- ruled area.

Britain released the plan after Hong Kong passed a sweeping nationwide security law in 2015, which critics state is squashing dissent in the previous British nest.

Almost 3 million Hong Kong locals hold or are qualified for the BNO file, which was produced ahead of Britain handing the city back to Chinese guideline in 1997.

Hong Kong likewise began to mirror mainland China by not acknowledging double citizenship, avoiding for the very first time foreign diplomats from checking out residents with foreign passports in detention.

“Most countries are going to ignore this,” stated one senior Western diplomat who had actually seen the letter.

“It is the Hong Kong government just trying it on…they have no right to tell any state what foreign passports it can recognize.”

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Another envoy explained the relocation as “bordering on belligerent” and stated it was not the method the Hong Kong federal government, usually conscious of the city’s standing as a worldwide monetary center, has actually typically acted.

The Hong Kong federal government has yet to react to Reuters’ ask for remark.

A Hong Kong federal government site lists 14 nations under the mutual Working Holiday Scheme, consisting of Japan, Canada, Germany, Britain, and Australia.

Officials in Japan, South Korea, Italy, and New Zealand verified to Reuters that they still acknowledged the BNO passport for visas. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry included that it had actually not gotten the letter while Hungary stated it had, and had actually begun speak to alter the working vacation program.

Other countries, consisting of the United States, Finland, and Norway, likewise provide comparable plans or trainee exchanges for Hongkongers, and have actually accepted BNOs from candidates.

It is not understood if the United States likewise got the letter however a State Department spokesperson informed Reuters the BNO stayed legitimate for visa-issuing functions and take a trip to the United States.

Hong Kong’s relocations versus the BNO followed a statement from the UK federal government that its brand-new visa might bring in more than 300,000 individuals and their dependents.

London stated it was satisfying a historical and ethical dedication to Hong Kong’s individuals in the wake of the nationwide security law, which enables suspects in major cases to be taken throughout the border and attempted in mainland Chinese courts.

Beijing and Hong Kong authorities state the legislation is essential to bring stability to the city after anti-government demonstrations flared in 2019.

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The UK plan permits those with BNO status to live, study and operate in Britain for 5 years and ultimately make an application for citizenship.

Beijing stated it would make them second-class people, a line propagated by pro-Beijing media analysts in Hong Kong.

Britain handed its previous nest back to Chinese guideline in 1997 with assurances its core liberties, comprehensive autonomy and capitalist way of living would be secured.

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Hong Kong to foreign governments: Stop accepting special British passport