Fb Post by Lord Alton:
Home Office Signals Progress for Hong Kong’s Holders of British Nationals Overseas Passports.
On Monday March 4th I chaired a meeting at the House of Lords on behalf of the charity, Hong Kong Watch. A capacity audience heard accounts from five activists from Hong Kong. The main focus of the meeting was about the 152,350 Hong Kongers who hold a BNO passport.
David Alton said;
“It is positive that the United Kingdom is looking to become world leaders in automated passenger clearance, but it is puzzling that privileged access is being given to foreign nationals from the United States, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere, while people holding British passports continue to wait in line. It is particularly confusing that the Hong Kong SAR passport has access to the e-passport gates, but BNO passports do not.
What does it communicate to the rest of the world that British passports holders are being forced to queue not only behind every European, but also foreign nationals?
It is easy to forget that there are hundreds of BNO passport holders who fought for the British army when they were British citizens prior to handover. Does their service not matter to us? Should they really be waiting behind the Japanese or South Koreans?
I campaigned for British Dependent Territory Citizens in Hong Kong to be given right of abode, or at least the choice to retain their citizenship, when the handover discussions were taking place. Unfortunately, our negotiations with China denied them their right to self-determination, offering only the BNO passport as a token compromise. These passports were designed to acknowledge the historic ties the United Kingdom has with Hong Kong, and our ongoing commitment to the people of Hong Kong under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. This is a cost-free way of ensuring that these British passports mean something.”
Following the meeting, Baroness Williams of Trafford, a Home Office Minister has promised,
in a letter to Lord Alton (attached), that the Home Office will examine the restrictions on BNO passport holders being able to use automated passenger clearance.