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London stands firm on visa scheme after China derecognises British National Overseas passport

London stands firm on visa scheme after China derecognises British National Overseas passport

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Hong Kong, January 30 (ANI): The UK on Saturday has vowed not to "look the other way" after Beijing said it would stop recognising the British National Overseas BN (O) passport as a travel or identification document, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said, "Britain will 'not look the other way' when it comes to Hongkongers with BN (O) status."
Britain has doubled down on its offer of a pathway to citizenship for Hongkongers after Beijing stopped recognising the passports as travel and identification documents from coming Sunday with further retaliation a possibility, said Danny Lee in an SCMP opinion piece.
London's vow to stand firm on its visa scheme came as Hong Kong's Immigration Department instructed airlines on Friday night not to accept BN (O) passports as a travel document, according to a source with direct knowledge of the order.
Airlines were reminded to follow the new rules or risk breaking section 40 of the Immigration Ordinance, which targets the arrival of aircraft passengers in Hong Kong without a valid travel document. Airlines and associated parties in breach of the legislation face a fine of HK dollar 10,000, reported SCMP.
Hong Kong immigration officials reminded airlines that if a passenger did not have valid travel documents, they should verify the traveller's status with the department before allowing them to fly.
Meanwhile, lending its support for the new visa scheme for Hongkonger's, the official spokesman of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "We have been clear that we will not look the other way when it comes to Hong Kong people with British National (Overseas) status who now have a choice to come and live and work and study in the UK".
"And it remains the case that BN (O) and their families can use documentation other than British National Overseas passports to travel and enter the UK," he added.
Earlier on Friday, China had warned Britain of further retaliation after London launched a new visa scheme to provide Hongkonger's a new route to UK citizenship.
The Chinese derecognition of BN (O) passport came on Friday afternoon, a few hours after London released details of the application process for the new visa that will officially launch at 5 pm, also on Sunday, reported SCMP.
As per Lee, Beijing may retaliate further against Britain's offer of a pathway to citizenship for 5.4 million eligible Hongkongers.
The diplomatic row between China and Britain over the passports first broke out after London announced last July that it would provide Hongkongers eligible for BN (O) status a pathway to citizenship.
According to memorandums of understanding agreed upon by both London and Beijing, all those with British Dependent Territories citizenship would cease to have it on July 1, 1997, the day of the handover. In its place, however, they would be entitled to "retain an appropriate status" enabling them to continue to use passports issued by the British government - and thus, the BN (O) arrangement was born.
However, the memorandums made explicit that BN (O) status did not confer upon its holders the right of abode in Britain. (ANI)

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ANI

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