The Home Secretary has announced details of the visa scheme for British National (Overseas) Citizens and their immediate dependents, which will be open for applications from January 2021.

There will be no skills tests or minimum income requirements, economic needs tests or caps on numbers. In addition, applicants do not need to have a job before coming to the UK, and they can look for work once here.

The visas will be valid for a period of 5 years and, at the end of the 5 year period, applicants will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, provided that they have supported themselves independently in the UK, and satisfy the other normal rules for indefinite leave to remain, including spending no more than 180 days outside the UK during each rolling period of 12 months of residence.

Qualifying applicants will be entitled to bring with them their spouse or partner and children aged under 18, even if they do not have BN (O) status themselves. In compelling and compassionate circumstances, the Home Office will have discretion to grant a visa to children of a BN (O) citizen born after 1997 and over 18, as the Home Office does not wish to split family units.

Successful applicants will be eligible to apply for British citizenship by naturalisation 12 months after acquiring indefinite leave to remain.

Applicants will need to be ordinarily resident in Hong Kong, which includes those currently in the UK but who are ordinarily resident in Hong Kong and must be able to demonstrate their ability to accommodate and support themselves in the UK for at least 6 months.

For further advice and assistance in relation to the Hong Kong scheme, please contact any one of our Immigration team.