CACN - Placemat - Alignment with Five Eyes - Nov 16, 2020
[redacted] appears where sensitive information has been removed in accordance with the principles of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.
- Similar to Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, offer visa-free access to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and British National Overseas passport holders (eTA required for Aus and NZ), however, current border restrictions in Australia and New Zealand limit the ability of Hong Kongers to travel and make asylum claims in these countries. The US does have a visa requirement for Hong Kongers, but does not have border restrictions. [redacted]
- Response measures are still evolving. This chart will be updated as further information comes available.
Country - United Kingdom
- As detailed in the July 22nd Hong Kong BN(O) Visa policy statement (PDF, 498 KB), the UK is creating a new Hong Kong BN(O) Visa, for which the UK will start accepting applications in January 2021. BN(O) citizens will not need to hold a BN(O) passport, however they will need to apply for a Hong Kong BN(O) Visa. Statutory immigration requirements (health, criminality) and visa fees will still apply. Immediate dependents (spouses and children under 18) who are not BN(O) citizens will be eligible. In addition, adult children born on or after 1 July 1997 (i.e. 18-23 year olds) of BN(O) citizens who form part of the same household as their BN(O) parent (i.e. normally live together) will be eligible to apply for the Visa but they must apply alongside their BN(O) parent. Applicants must be ordinarily resident in Hong Kong to qualify. Fees have not been announced.
- The Visa will be valid for 5 years during which holders may live and work in the UK, but are still subject to immigration controls. Holders may apply for permanent residence after 5 years. To qualify, they must be financially self-sufficient, have no criminal record, and have maintained residency requirements of at least 180 days out of any 12-month period in the preceding 5-year period. One year after being granted permanent residence, individuals may apply for citizenship. Regular immigration fees will apply at all steps of the process. English-language skills will not be assessed at the time of visa application but will need to be demonstrated at the time of application for permanent residence. Visa holders who do not apply for permanent residence after the 5-year period will be required to depart the UK.
- Visa holders will have access to the public health care, having paid the Immigration Health surcharge in their visa fees. School-aged children will have access to public education. Holders will be ineligible for unemployment or housing benefits.
- For Hong Kong residents not covered in the above (i.e., not a BN(O) citizen, or a dependent of one), the policy references the existing UK-Hong Kong youth mobility agreement, which has 1,000 spaces per year for Hong Kongers aged 18-30. Finally, the policy states that Hong Kongers not covered under this arrangement may apply to immigrate under the UK’s new Points Based System for permanent economic immigration.
- The UK has an interim provision which allows those who want to leave Hong Kong before the official opening of the BN(O) visa to travel to the UK through a system called “leave outside the rules.” This system allows immigration officers to grant discretionary entry for those who state their intention to apply for the BN(O) visa.
As the BN(O) Visa does not open for applications until January 2021, there is no data on uptake. However, a June 18th Foreign and Commonwealth Office report provides a range of scenarios, estimating between 4,000 and 287,000 BN(O) holders and dependents emigrating to the UK in the first year, and between 8,500 and 900,500 over a five year period. The “mid-range” scenario shows 188,000-278,000 applicants (including dependents) over the first five years. The total pool of potential applicants is estimated at 5.2 million people (BN(O) passport holders and dependents). [redacted] Concerning reaction from China, on July 30th, the Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming, stated that China will not recognize the British National (Overseas) passport as a legal travel document. [redacted]
- When announcing the new Hong Kong BN(O) Visa in Parliament, the Home Secretary also announced the suspension of the UK-Hong Kong extradition treaty, noting that “the suspension will protect those resident in the UK, including those who may soon be here by virtue of the new immigration route, from unwarranted pursuit through the provisions of the Extradition Treaty.”
Country - United States
- On June 30th, a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen introduced legislation – the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act (PDF, 51 KB) – which would designate Hong Kong residents who have suffered persecution, have a well-founded fear of persecution, have been charged or detained for peaceful actions, or their immediate family as Priority 2 refugees (meaning they can apply directly to the US government as a refugee, rather than through a UNHCR referral). [redacted]
- On September 30th, the Trump administration announced its target of 15,000 places for refugee resettlement. [redacted], but there are spaces specifically allocated for Hong Kong residents though the number of spaces for them has not yet been confirmed. Each year some countries are identified for special treatment, but this is the first year Hong Kong has been included.
- On June 26th, visa sanctions were imposed on current and former Chinese Communist Party officials “who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy or undermining human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong.” List of individuals is not public.
- On July 14th, the Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate Hong Kong’s treatment under the Act as a separate state from China. Hong Kong residents will now be considered as part of China for the purpose of country caps on immigrant visas issued per year and inclusion in the Diversity Visa Lottery. It also eliminated an extended validity period available for immigrant and non-immigrant visas issued to Hong Kong residents.
- In addition to visa sanctions mentioned above, the Executive Order also imposed a travel ban on individuals subject to United Nations Security Council travel bans related to Hong Kong, and terminated BNO passport holders’ eligibility for visa-free access to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
- On August 7th, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on 11 individuals, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the current and former heads of the city’s police force, for “undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and restricting the freedom of expression or assembly of the citizens of Hong Kong”. As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests of these individuals are frozen and Americans are barred from engaging in business with the individuals.
- In a report to Congress on October 14, the US Department of State told international financial institutions they could face sanctions for doing business with individuals involved in China’s crackdown on Hong Kong protesters. The individuals in question are those who were already sanctioned by the US (10 individuals). This report to Congress is required under the US’s Hong Kong Autonomy Act (of July 14 2020). It seems that these sanctions also include visa restrictions and exclusion from the US.
Country – Australia
- On July 9th, Australia’s Prime Minister announced plans for new visa arrangements for Hong Kong passport holders with pathways to permanent residency:
- Current and future students from Hong Kong will be eligible for a 5-year graduate visa upon graduation, with a pathway to permanent residency after 5 years. Former students already on a temporary graduate visa will be eligible for an extension of 5 years, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.
- Current temporary skilled visa holders from Hong Kong will also be eligible for an extension of 5 years, with eligibility for permanent residency at the end of that period. Future Hong Kong applicants for temporary skilled visas will be eligible for a 5-year visa, provided they meet occupational skills lists and Labour Market Testing requirements; or qualify through Australia’s Global Talent temporary visa scheme. These future temporary skilled visa holders will also have a pathway to permanent residency after 5 years.
- New incentives will also be developed to encourage export-oriented Hong Kong based businesses and companies with Hong Kong-based headquarters to relocate to Australia, with permanent pathways available to critical Hong Kong-based staff.
- On July 20th, the government announced plans to resume processing study permits for international students, and would allow online learning and allow students studying remotely to qualify for post-graduate work permits. This move comes as the International Education Association of Australia reports a surge in inquiries and applications for student visas from Hong Kong, which began after the July 9th announcement above.
- On August 21st, Acting Minister for Immigration Alan Tudge announced that the new visa arrangements for Hong Kong students, temporary graduates and skilled workers announced on July 9th had come into effect. This includes an automatic 5 year extension to Hong Kong residents in Australia on either a temporary graduate visa.
- [redacted]. Media reports suggest a “quite significant increase” in inquiries about emigration as well as increase study permit applications from Hong Kongers for Australia, following the government’s announcement.
- [redacted]. For comparison, 62 claims were received in 2018/19 (which includes the period when unrest began in Hong Kong), and 30 in 2017/18.
- Extradition treaty with Hong Kong suspended on July 9th.
Country – New Zealand
- On July 9th, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister ordered a review across all Hong Kong policy areas, including extradition arrangements, controls on exports of strategic goods, and travel advice.
- Extradition treaty with Hong Kong suspended on July 28th.
Country – European Union
- On July 28th, the European Foreign Affairs Council endorsed a coordinated package responding to the imposition of the national security law, to be carried out at EU and/or Member State level, as deemed appropriate, within their respective areas of competence.
- The package, an “initial response” of the EU, commits the bloc to consider the implications of the national security legislation for asylum, migration, visa and residence policy; and to explore possibilities for stepping up and coordinating scholarships and academic exchanges involving Hong Kong students and universities. No details on these measures are provided.
- The package of measures endorsed on July 28th includes a review of the national security legislation on the operation of Member States’ extradition and other relevant agreements with Hong Kong. This review is expected by the end of the year.
Report a problem or mistake on this page
- Date modified: