Monday, January 25, 2010

British National (Overseas) citizenship

In the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill last year we finally prevailed on the Government to grant full citizenship to British National (Overseas) citizens, who were members of non-Chinese ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. The BN(O) status entitled them to reside in Hong Kong only.

But now that the Act at last came into force on January 13, we find that the Government has created an impossible hurdle for BN(O) applicants to surmount. They have to apply for a Hong Kong Chinese passport, mking a false declaration that they are Chinese citizens. I'm tabling the following written questions, which should appear on the Order Paper tomorrow:

Whether they will instruct the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong to desist from asking a British National (Overseas) who wishes to register as British citizen to falsely certify to Hong Kong authorities that he/she is a Chinese citizen and apply for a Hong Kong Chinese passport, whether they are aware that that it is an offence under Hong Kong law to make a false statement on a passport application, and whether they will be responsible for the fines, legal expenses or prison sentence of any British national who suffers consequences under Hong Kong law because of misrepresentations made to the Hong Kong Government at the request of the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong.

Whether the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong has had any discussions with the Hong Kong Immigration Department since 13 January 2010; what matters were discussed and what was the outcome.

What is their estimate of the number of British Nationals (Overseas) who may now qualify for British citizenship under section 4B of the British Nationality Act 1981.

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