International

Hong Kong migrants to UK will need support, ministers told

Migrants from Hong Kong to the UK say they have concerns about housing, jobs and Chinese state surveillance once they start to arrive from next year.

The claims have been made by a new migrants’ group ahead of the introduction of a new Hong Kong visa.

From 31 January, Hong Kong residents can come to the UK for up to five years and apply for permanent residency.

Britain says Beijing’s imposition of a national security law on the region is an erosion of freedoms and rights.

The group Hong Kongers in Britain (HKB) says migrants expect to experience difficulties finding housing and jobs.

And some have raised concerns they might be tracked by “informants or secret agents” from China.

HKB is urging the Home Office to show discretion to people who may have criminal records in Hong Kong as a result of taking part in pro-democracy protests.

But the organisation expects the new population to integrate well, including with the UK’s existing Chinese communities.

At the last census in 2011 there were around 400,000 Chinese people living in England and Wales.

HKB said most migrants would be well-educated, higher-earners who speak good English.

Spokeswoman Dr Rikkie Yeung said: “Hong Kongers who are trying to leave Hong Kong out of concern for safety and freedoms share similar values with the British people.

“I hope that people can integrate easily into this country.”