Boris ups the ante with China

The Guardian reports:

Boris Johnson has opened the path to what he called one of the “biggest changes” to the British visa system, stating he was ready to offer a right to live and work in the UK to any of the nearly 3 million citizens eligible for a British National Overseas passport. …

The prime minister’s offer would come into play only if presses ahead with new security laws that strip Hong Kong of its traditional freedoms.

Johnson wrote in the Times that if the security laws were pursued, “Britain would have no choice but to uphold our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong”.

He said: “Today about 350,000 people hold British Nationals (Overseas) passports and another 2.5 million people would be eligible to apply for them. At present these passports allow for visa free access for up to six months.

“If China imposes its national security law, the British government will change its immigration rules and allow any holder of these passports from Hong Kong to come to the UK for a renewable period of 12 months and be given further immigration rights including the right to work which would place them on the route to citizenship.”

He added: “This would amount to one of the biggest changes to our visa system in history. If it proves necessary Britain will take this step and take it willingly.”

This is a stunningly bold and good move.

If China proceeds, it risks losing half of Hong King’s population. The economy would be worse than decimated.

And the UK would gain a couple of million very grateful, hard working and well educated citizens. Over half the population already speak English.

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