Immigration News and Updates

Immigration News and Updates

Hong Kong BN(O): Visa Applications Takes Hours to Complete

Posted on 13th February, 2021

Despite lack of official data from London, head of Hongkongers group claims he knows of ‘a few’ successful cases

People who have applied for scheme say online forms take hours to complete and you must supply 10 years of travel history

Almost two weeks since the visa system for British National (Overseas) passport holders went live, unconfirmed reports suggest potentially hundreds of people have had their applications approved. . .

Those who have gone through the process already recounted hours of filling out digital forms, answering 100 questions and providing detailed information on their lives, including travel history, for the past 10 years. . .

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said data for BN(O) visas would be published in “due course”, and declined to comment further on application and approval numbers.

From January 31, an estimated 5.4 million people out of Hong Kong’s population of 7.5 million were eligible to apply for these new visas. . . 

Those applying in Hong Kong before February 23 are required to visit the North Point visa centre and provide fingerprint and facial scans before the application can be processed.

Those submitted after that date can be completed online through a new app – a date many are waiting for.

Peter* and his girlfriend, however, opted not to wait and were among the first to apply for a BN(O) visa online, on January 31.

The 30-year-old media professional is ready to go to London, but was told it would take up to 12 weeks to process his application.

Peter said the application was not complicated “but attention to some details is recommended”.

The lengthiest part of the process, which he said took “almost three hours to finish”, was documenting his travel history for the past 10 years, and other documents such as tuberculosis test results, temporary UK address, and proof of finances.

Aby Wong, who arrived in London last October, applied for the BN(O) visa the day the scheme started and encountered similar problems.

“I had to check all the stamps in my passport and my photos in the last 10 years to find out [where she had been],” she said. “The other questions include whether I had any criminal records in any countries, or if I have ever been denied entry in any places.”

Other questions included whether the applicants have worked in the police, armed forces, media organisations, and even the judiciary.

Another question the 28-year-old had to answer, was: “Have you, as a part of your employment or otherwise, undertaken paid or unpaid activity on behalf of a non-UK government which you know to be dangerous to the interests or national security of the UK or its allies?”

After applying, Wong had to make a booking at a visa application centre to submit her fingerprints. No slots in the next 28 days were available and she only managed to secure a time slot in March, by which point applications can be completed through a mobile phone app. . . .

*Name has been changed at interviewee’s request

#BNO #BNOvisa #BNO簽證 #BNO簽證申請 #Immigration #移民英國 #immigratetotheUK

Source: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/society/article/3121608/hong-kong-bno-visa-applications-taking-hours-complete

Canada Launches Hong Kong Pathway that will Attract Recent Graduates and Skilled Workers with Faster Permanent Residency

Posted on 4th February, 2021

From: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

News release

February 4, 2021—Ottawa — The ties that bind Canada and Hong Kong run deep. The first Hong Kong residents arrived here over 150 years ago, contributing immensely to Canada’s economic, social and political life. Canada continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Hong Kong, and is deeply concerned about the new National Security Law and the deteriorating human rights situation there. Against this backdrop, in November 2020, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced several new initiatives to help more Hong Kong residents come to Canada.

Today, Minister Mendicino announced that Hong Kong residents will be able to apply for new open work permits beginning on February 8, 2021. Valid for up to 3 years, these permits will allow Hong Kong residents to gain valuable employment experience and make significant contributions to Canada. Hong Kong residents must have graduated with a Canadian post-secondary diploma or degree in the last 5 years, or hold an equivalent foreign credential. A post-secondary diploma program must be a minimum of 2 years.

Hong Kong residents currently in Canada temporarily, including visitors, students and workers, can apply online from within Canada. Those applying from abroad remain subject to current travel restrictions and may not be able to come to Canada at this time, unless they have a job offer or meet a travel exemption and comply with all public health requirements. More details will be available on the IRCC website on the launch date.

In addition to open work permits, the Government of Canada continues to implement 2 other pathways to permanent residence for young Hong Kong residents, which will be available later this year. The first will be for Hong Kong residents with at least 1 year of work experience in Canada and who meet the language and education criteria. The second will be for Hong Kong residents who have graduated from a post-secondary institution in Canada; who can then apply directly for permanent residence. More information will be available in due course.

Source: Canada Launches Hong Kong Pathway that will Attract Recent Graduates and Skilled Workers with Faster Permanent Residency – Canada.ca

Australia Immigration: Tougher Visa Rules for Business Migrants

Posted on 20 December, 2020

Business migrants will face tougher requirements under changes to investment visas that have so far drawn in at least $12 billion from mostly Chinese nationals.

The existing nine business and investment visas will be cut back to four with various thresholds of required investment adjusted.

Acting Minister for Immigration Alan Tudge said the changes would protect Australia’s interests.

“These changes will maximise the economic contribution of these high-value investors to get the best possible outcome for Australians,” Mr Tudge said in a statement to The Australian Financial Review.

“Our Migration Program for 2020-21 is clearly focused on job creators, those with key skills and migrants who are going to invest in Australia’s future.”

The Business Innovation visa, which allows migrants to operate a new or existing business in Australia, will remain but applicants will now be required to hold business assets of $1.25 million, up from $800,000.

It will also require the business to have an annual turnover of $750,000, up from $500,000, to better “prove their business acumen”. “

The requirements for Business Innovation visa holders will be increased to ensure the program is attracting migrants with proven business skills,” Mr Tudge said.

The Premium Investor visa, which required migrants to invest at least $15 million in Australian investments and then apply for permanent residency, will be closed to new applicants In July next year.

The Significant Business History and Venture Capital Entrepreneur visas will also be closed to new applicants from July 1 next year. The overall program will be simplified into four visa streams: Business Innovation, Entrepreneur, Investor and Significant Investor.

Some visas will have easier thresholds, such as for entrepreneur visa applicants whose existing $200,000 funding threshold will be scrapped. Applicants will still need to.

Be endorsed by a state or territory government, however. The changes to visas and the government’s planning allocations will still means the number of places available in the overall business and investment visa program will double form 6862 in 2019-20 to 13, 500 for 2020-2021.

Part of the increase in influenced by the hit to migration levels from COVID-19 restrictions. The October federal budget outlined the largest hit to population growth in more than a century and with international borders not set to be opened unit next year some of the available place numbers ae naturally higher because of lower intakes in other programs.

The thresholds for visas, established under the Gillard government in 2012, allow migrants to live and work in Australia, with a pathway to permanent residency for each category.  Demand for the visas hand been exceeding supply before COVID-19, leading to a review by the Department of Home affairs which finished in February this year.

The so-called “golden ticket” significant investor Visa (SIV), which requires at least $5 millon in Australian investment in exchange for a permanent visa, will remain in place.

Last financial year 135 SIVs were granted out of an overall pool of more than 4420 business and investment visa on offer.  Of the 135 SIVs granted just under 90 per cent were to Chinese.

Publicly available immigration data show that since 2021, more than 2349 significant investment visas have been granted, resulting in about $1.7 billion worth of investment in Australia’s economy, making up the vast proportion of the money invested under the overall business and investment visa program.

Data of the entire business and investment visa program are not publicly available.

There have been no changes to investment thresholds for the SIV but they could face changes in the new year.

Any changes to the framework will be announced in the early half of next year, with sufficient time for businesses and investors to adjust,” the minister’s statement said.

Demand form Chinese for the visa has been rising, from 312 wealthy individuals applying in the 2018 financial year to 384in 2019 and 383 in the OCVID-19            HIT FINANCIAL YEAR OF 2020.

The government said it would also be consulting widely with industry to inform any further changes to what qualified as a complying investment.

Earlier changes to the SIV have included the exclusion of bonds as an investment type that applicants can house their investment in.  They also forced part of the $5 million into venture capital and small cap equities funds.

The last big changes to the SIV rules in 2015 rules in 2015 were introduced by the then Minister for trade and investment Andrew Robb and forced at least $500,000 to be invested in venture capital or funds investing in start-up and small private companies.

The government has allowed business innovation and significant investor visa holders to continue to be able to extend their provisional visas if they do not meet the business and residence thresholds in the required timeframe.

Currently, Significant investor provisional visa holders can apply for tow tow-year extensions provided they continue to maintain their complying significant investment.

[BNO Immigration] The MPF Authority said: BNO alone or Home Return Permit alone cannot prove permanent departure from Hong Kong – MPF may not be withdrawn earlier

Posted on 12 December, 2020

Immigration has become a hot topic recently, and many citizens plan to apply for early withdrawal of MPF due to immigration. The MPFA Executive Director (Policy) Ms. Yu Ka Po stated that travel documents such as the “Home Return Permit” and British National (Overseas) Passport (BNO) alone are not sufficient proof of “permanent departure” for early MPF claims.

Ms. Yu explained that the “Homecoming Permit” is a travel document owned by most Hong Kong people. Therefore, the “Homecoming Permit” alone is not enough to prove that they plan to move to mainland China. Applicants must present supporting documents other than the “Homecoming Permit”, Including PRC residence permits for Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan residents, rental housing contracts, appointment letters, etc., as proof of “permanent departure”.

Similarly, the presentation of BNO alone is not sufficient as proof of moving to the UK. Applicants should present other supporting documents so that the trustee can review the case as a whole. She said that if members apply for early withdrawal of MPF funds on the grounds of “permanent departure”, the following conditions must be met. Applicants must first submit a claim form, relevant documents and evidence, and a statutory declaration to the trustee, stating that they will leave Hong Kong permanently on a specific date to live elsewhere, and have no intention to return to Hong Kong to work or settle again. The applicant is obliged to provide supporting documents and information that make the trustee satisfied that he has been allowed to reside outside Hong Kong for verification.

If a scheme member does not truly leave Hong Kong permanently, but makes a false statement, falsely claiming that the claimant has applied for early withdrawal of the MPF fund on the grounds of “permanent departure”, the claimant has been suspected of violating the MPF Ordinance. If there is evidence that his oath is false, the MPFA can institute criminal prosecutions. The maximum penalty for the first conviction is a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for 1 year.