Template Motion to welcome HK BNO residents to the UK

July 29, 2021 10:55 AM

Following the annoucement by the Government of a fund to help Hong Kong British National Overseas (BNO) Passport holders who have taken residence in the UK, we have produced a template motion to allow Liberal Democrat councillors to raise with their Councils. For those where we are in control we can enact real change and for those in opposition to push councils to apply for this funding. Please do feel free to edit the template to fit your own local circumstances. The full text of the motion is below but can also downloaded here.

For the latest report from Hongkongers in Britain survey results of where BNO residents are preferring to choose to go to in the UK, please see their report here.

Template Motion to support HK BNO Passport arrivals to the UK

As a result of the Chinese Government's imposition of new 'national security' laws and the British Governments policy shift on BN(O) visas, many people are choosing to emigrate to the UK from Hong Kong. The Home Office predicts that as many as 300,000 Hongkongers may choose to relocate to Britain with many choosing to settle in and elsewhere across the UK. This council recognises and welcomes th enormous contribution that immigrants of all nationalities and backgrounds have made to British life. The historical, political and economic factors currently surrounding democratic freedoms in Hong Kong make the decision to emigrate particularly stressful for many Hongkongers. There are several considerations and measures that local authorities can take to extend the warmest possible welcome to everyone who decides to make the journey to the UK.

This council notes:

  • That the Home Office figure of 300,000 migrants from Hong Kong is an estimation for the next 5 years and that - with around 70% of the population of Hong Kong being eligible for BN(O) status - that number may rise considerably.
  • The 'Coming for Hope' report published by 'Hongkongers in Britain', which indicates the following:
    • That the mean age of applicants is 37 and that 71% of applicants hold a university degree
    • That 16% of those surveyed say they cannot afford the cost of living for the first 6 months after arriving in the UK.
    • That, of those surveyed, 73% expect to have difficulty finding accommodation, 57% are concerned about living costs and 48% are anxious about finding employment.
    • That 96% of respondents felt that Hong Kong was no longer a 'safe and free home.'
  • The Home Office estimates suggest a net benefit to government finances of between £2.4 and £2.9 billion over five years as a result of the arrival of highly skilled migrants from Hong Kong.
  • This council also notes the advice and guidance that is available through the Government's 'Hong Kong UK Welcome Programme'.

This council welcomes:

  • The provision of up to £2,720 per BN(O) household for destitution support for which councils are to apply funding for.
  • The Government's commitment to set up 12 new 'Welcome Hubs' across the UK, which are located in the 12 regional Strategic Migration Partnerships of which is our nearest one is [ ], to support the settlement of BN(O) holders.
  • These brave new residents from Hong Kong who have taken the huge step and commitment to make their homes on the other side of the world and welcome them to our community.

This council resolves to:
(For upper tier authorities)

- Monitor the intake of Hong Kong children into <county's> schools and allocate additional resources for 'English as a Second Language' and PSHE to aid with integration.
- Assist parents of children with special educational needs by providing information on the 'SEN Local Offer' and Educational Health Care Plans in Cantonese through the council website.

- Apply for funding from central government to address these actions.

(For lower tier)

- Request that they monitor the intake of Hong Kong children into <county's> schools and allocate additional resources for 'English as a Second Language' and PSHE to aid with integration.

- Request that they assist parents of children with special educational needs by providing information on the 'SEN Local Offer' and Educational Health Care Plans in Cantonese through the council website.

- Request that they Apply for funding from central government to address these actions.

- Work with local Chinese Community Associations to better understand the needs of the new Hong Kong Chinese community and where possible to gather data to support this.

- Produce a leaflet in Traditional Chinese to outline the services of the Council for new arrivals.

- Review grant funding applications for partner organisations to deliver advice to new Hong Kong arrivals, for example with Citizens Advice Bureau or with Chinese Community Associations with a history of providing Welfare and Benefit advice.

- Ensure a cabinet member/committee is given responsibility for the oversight of this motion and recommend further steps to ensure this is an ongoing piece of work to help integrate the newly arrived Hong Kong residents to our community.