Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens expected to move to the UK under a new visa scheme will be helped to access housing, schools, and jobs, the community secretary has said.
Around 27,000 applications are made for visas brought in after Beijing imposed a national security law within the former British colony.
The visas give Hong Kong citizens the proper to measure within the UK for five years.
Robert Jenrick told that the ministers wanted to supply “necessary” help.
“If they struggle, then we’re here to support them,” he said.
“That means local councils being there to provide them with housing, with the benefit system standing behind them, with all the support the state can offer to make sure that no-one gets into difficult times,” he added.
Since 31 January, Hong Kong residents are ready to come to the United Kingdom for up to 5 years and apply for permanent residency.
The UK introduced a British National (Overseas), or BNO, visa after China passed a wide-ranging new security law for Hong Kong which makes it easier to punish protesters and reduces the city’s autonomy.
The UK says the law is an erosion of freedoms and rights.
Government sources said school places for the new arrivals, many of whom will have young families, were “a pressure to be acknowledged”.
If the number of applications for the visas continues to rise at an equivalent rate, they’re going to far outstrip the house Office’s prediction of 154,000 arrivals within the first year of the scheme.
Mr. Jenrick said he expected the new arrivals to form a “real and important contribution” to the United Kingdom – many had qualifications in teaching, medicine, or engineering.
But community groups have previously raised concerns that BNO visa holders will need help to seek out jobs and housing.
Jabez Lam, the manager of 1 group, Hackney Chinese Community Services, said he thought around 7,000 people had arrived already.
Many have booked into hotels or Airbnbs while they look for rented accommodation, he said.
“We believe as the lockdown eases that rate will accelerate,” said Mr. Lam.
His charity has already raised concerns with the govt about school admissions and therefore the right to get tenancies.
It also urged police to intensify action against UK-based supporters of the Chinese government who might target Hong Kongers.
Simon Cheng, the chairman of another charity, Hong Kongers in Britain, said the United Kingdom government should also offer to assist people that had taken part in protests against Beijing but who were not eligible for BNO visas.
He said: “The BNO visa scheme is quite a life-boat scheme for rescuing people out of tyranny, and a few of these may have actual help for resettlement, and to possess a launchpad to contribute more to the UK economy and for sure, UK democracy.”
Although the BNO visa states holders haven’t any recourse to public funds within the UK, the govt says those that become destitute could also be offered assistance to access social housing and other benefits.
There will be 12 virtual “welcome hubs” in the nations and English regions to provide access to housing, education, and employment.
Teaching material about the UK’s historical links with Hong Kong is going to be given to colleges.