...Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States expressed concern at Beijing’s imposition of the new National Security Law, which is eroding the Hong Kong people’s fundamental rights and liberties."
There’s a peculiar dystopian drama about a future Hong Kong. Produced in 2015 and titled Ten Years, the series of five shorts envisioned a city where in 2025, Hong Kong residents and activists face crackdowns under iron-fisted rule. In the Extras storyline based in 2020, government officials concoct an assassination plot to foment public support for legislation of the National Security Law.
In real life, in 2020 an emboldened Carrie Lam implemented the National Security Law that was roundly condemned by governments worldwide. Those countries were concerned that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was curtailing certain liberties promised to Hong Kong in 1997.
Travel advice from around the world (including Canada, the UK and the USA) notes that Hong Kong’s National Security Law introduces offences on secession, subversion, terrorist activities and collusion with a foreign country with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The advice notes that these laws are vague and could apply to activities outside Hong Kong and could result in being detained and moved to mainland China.
Naturally such advice was met with swift rebuke from the CCP.
New options for British National (Overseas) passport holders from Hong Kong
Hong Kong citizens are being offered new residency pathways. In February 2020 I wrote of the options for British Overseas Nationals in Hong Kong to gain residency in the United Kingdom. But now, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in recognition of Hong Kong’s plight, announced in June 2020 that the British government would change their immigration rules allowing any holder of British National (Overseas) passports from Hong Kong to come to the UK for a renewable period of 12 months (up from six months). They would be given further immigration rights, including the right to work, which could place nearly three million Hong Kongers a route to citizenship.
New options to live outside Hong Kong
Australia has introduced new visa arrangements for Hong Kong students, temporary graduates and skilled workers. At this stage New Zealand will not be looking at visa changes or pathways to residency for Hong Kong citizens.
Canada has not announced additional measures around immigration. The United States plans to address immigration matters via the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act.
The European Union announced that it was considering the implications of the national security legislation for asylum, migration, visa and residence policy. Germany has said that there are no specific measures to allow Hong Kong citizens affected by the Chinese region’s new administrative law to relocate but that the right to asylum in Germany was available to anyone.
Taiwan announced that it will set up a specialised office to support Hong Kongers wanting to move to Taiwan for school, employment, investment, entrepreneurship and immigration.
The new arrangements followed statements from countries like Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States expressing concern at Beijing’s imposition of the new National Security Law, which they say are eroding the Hong Kong people’s fundamental rights and liberties.
For some, the new Hong Kong won't be the same but there are options available to those who can take advantage of new opportunities.