Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand are looking at creating bespoke long term visas for Hong Kong residents escaping new security laws, according to home secretary Priti Patel.
Patel told a parliamentary committee today that the UK’s Five Eyes security partners were looking at following the UK by making emergency visas available to Hong Kongers and that foreign secretary Dominic Raab was consulting with the individual countries.
The UK is allowing 2.9m British National (Overseas) passport holders, and their dependents, from Hong Kong come to the UK on a bespoke work and study visa that will allow them to apply for citizenship after five years.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab confirmed the move earlier this month, after Beijing imposed new security legislation that bans criticism of the Chinese government and effectively ends freedom of speech in the region.
The new law will also see Beijing set up security agencies for the first time in Hong Kong.
Patel told Westminster’s Home Affairs Committee today that the UK’s Five Eyes security partners – the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – are looking at creating similar visas to the UK.
“We’re also working, and this is quite important to note, with other countries on this too, particularly our five eyes counterparts and colleagues who are also saying that they also want to look at the type of route we are introducing and create pathways that are of a similar nature,” she said.
“Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand are active on this and the foreign secretary [Raab] is leading some of the discussions on that particular front.”
Australia announced last week that it would offer help to Hong Kongers wanting to leave the region, but gave scant details about any potential scheme.
A government minister today said they would “specifically target” students and highly qualified people, unlike the UK scheme which is not capped or subject to entry requirements.