The UK grants five passports per minute to residents of Hong Kong. This will lead to an influx of people emigrating in the years to come and stimulate the housing market.
The UK Passport Office is issuing a record number of British Overseas National Passports (BNOs) to residents of Hong Kong. In the first 10 months of 2020, the UK has issued over 216,000 passports. Passports are approved at a rate of about five per minute based on an average eight-hour workday, according to a Bloomberg News report.
The monthly figures started to increase significantly in July. It was at this time that the UK announced the new visa to BNO passport holders in Hong Kong. The visa allows eligible people and their dependents to reside in Britain for five years and provides an easier path to citizenship.
Those numbers are likely to continue to rise, especially as the January 31 visa opening date approaches. In October alone, the UK issued 60,000 BNO passports. This is a jump of more than 52% from the same month in 2019. It is also the highest monthly figure since the Passport Office began compiling this data in 2015.
Additionally, in 2020, the UK issued more passports to Hong Kong residents than in any year since 1997. In 2019, the UK approved around 151,000 passports and only approved around 18,000 passports for residents of Hong Kong in 2018.
How many Hong Kong residents are likely to move to the UK?
With a large number of Hong Kong residents renewing their BNO passports, many are considering their options. It is estimated that 2.9 million are eligible for BNO passports. In addition, up to 2.3 million dependents would also be eligible, according to the UK government.
The Home Office expects nearly half a million people to move in the first three years of the new visa. However, Hong Kong people in Britain have said that number could exceed 600,000.
Julian Chan, Head of Public Affairs at HongKongers in Britain, said: “With events in Hong Kong since 2019, it is perhaps not surprising that a very large number of Hong Kongers are planning to emigrate soon to United Kingdom.”
This influx of emigrants will boost the UK property market. While thousands of Hong Kong residents already own property in the UK, that number is likely to rise further. Since the announcement of the new visa, there has been an influx of potential buyers from Hong Kong. Interest in UK property will continue to soar from buyers who are specifically seeking citizenship.
London, Manchester and Liverpool have been particularly attractive to Hong Kong buyers and investors. Interest in these areas will increase even further as the visa application opening date draws closer and Hong residents begin to migrate to the UK via the new visa.
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