U.K. Says 27,000 Hongkongers Applied for New Visa Route So Far

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About 27,000 people from Hong Kong have applied for a new visa that provides a path to becoming British citizens since applications opened at the end of January.

The visa route was drawn up in response to concerns in London over the imposition of the national security law on Hong Kong, a former British colony. Officials estimate as many as 322,000 people could take up the route in its first five years.

“The U.K. has a long and proud history of embracing those who arrive on our shores seeking the inalienable rights and freedoms denied to them in their homeland,” Johnson said during a video call with families who arrived in the past 12 months. “On behalf of the whole country I want to say how glad we are to have you here and how proud we are that you have chosen the U.K. to live.”

The U.K. opened the visa route after accusing China of violating the terms of Hong Kong’s handover by enacting a strict national security law. Some of Johnson’s own Conservative Party lawmakers raised concerns this week that he wasn’t taking a strong enough line against Beijing after he said the U.K. will work with China to build a stronger economic relationship as part of a wider overhaul of defense and foreign policy.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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