The British government announced on Thursday the launch of a £43 million dedicated support package for Hong Kong BN(O) status holders and their families to help them settle successfully into life in the UK.
Under the support programme, 12 virtual welcome hubs will be set up across the UK to help new arrivals apply for school places, access health care, and even set up their own businesses.
Local councils will get funding to provide targeted support for new arrivals, covering additional English language training and support with housing costs for those who need it.
I want to extend a warm welcome to Hong Kongers arriving in the UK.
Our £43 million package of support will ensure BNO status holders & their families have the very best start as soon as they arrive. 🇬🇧🇭🇰 (1/4) pic.twitter.com/jREeY4ht3I
— Robert Jenrick (@RobertJenrick) April 8, 2021
British schools will receive dedicated Hong Kong educational resources to teach pupils about the historic connection between Hong Kong and Britain and the contribution of the Hong Kong-British and Chinese-British Diaspora to the UK.
“I want to extend a warm welcome to Hongkongers arriving in the UK and reaffirm that this government is doing everything in its power to ensure your success and happiness here,” Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said in a statement.
“This programme will ensure British National (Overseas) status holders and their families have the very best start as soon as they arrive, and support to help them find a home, schools for their children, opportunity and prosperity.
“We are a champion of freedom and democracy and will live up to our responsibilities to the people of Hong Kong, so that these families will come to find the UK a place they can call home.”
After the Chinese regime imposed a draconian national security law on Hong Kong in June 2020, Britain launched a new visa scheme to offer BN(O) status holders a path to citizenship at a time when freedom and human rights in the former British colony are under unprecedented threat.
According to the UK Home Office, approximately 27,000 BN(O) status holders and their family members had applied for the special visa as of March 19.
The government estimated last year that between 123,000 and 153,000 Hongkongers could take up the route in the first year, and the figure may reach between 258,000 and 322,000 over five years.
“We promised to uphold freedom for the people of Hong Kong, which is why I am proud that we have been able to support so many people when they have needed our help,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement.
“I know communities up and down our country will welcome new arrivals with open arms and support them to build a new life in the UK.”
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