Nathan Law has been granted asylum in Britain after he arrived last July following the imposition of a national security law in Beijing.
The move is likely to ramp up tensions between London and Beijing as Britain opens its doors to potentially more than five million Hong Kong residents in the wake of the contentious legislation.
“After several interviews in four months, the Home Office has informed me that my asylum application is approved,” Law said on Twitter late on Wednesday.
“The fact that I am wanted under the national security law shows that I am exposed to severe political persecution and am unlikely to return to Hong Kong without risk.”
UK pledges millions to help moves
The UK has pledged £43m to help Hong Kong residents find jobs, houses and schools under the initiative allowing millions to resettle.
Britain has accused China of multiple breaches of an agreement that saw the city handed back to the country in 1997.
It says China’s security law and moves to disqualify pro-democracy legislators have undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.
China has repeatedly told Western powers to stop meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs.
Speaking to City A.M. in January, Nathan Law said the opposition laws show how Beijing “manipulates economic powers to conduct and expand their authoritarianism”.
“It is very scary for Hong Kong people. Most of us feel like we have already lost all freedom, especially the freedom of expression,” Law said.
Over 300,000 Hong Kong residents could emigrate to London over the next five years, and the Bank of America predicts the moves will trigger capital outflows of $36bn in 2021.
Hong Kong residents became the fifth-largest foreign investors in central London as of last August and have been driving up prices in popular districts outside the capital.