Hong Kong arrivals to London facing discrimination

Hong Kong arrivals to London facing discrimination


ong Kong arrivals to London on the British National (Overseas) visa are facing discrimination when looking for employment and a place to live.

The BN(O) visa is Britain’s response to the imposition of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, which led to the lack of the political rights and freedoms of thousands and thousands.

Nearly two years since its introduction, City Hall estimates London has welcomed greater than 35,000 new arrivals.

Home Office figures present 115,000 folks have registered or utilized for the visa in Britain, with 1000’s extra anticipated to arrive by 2025.

But one visa holder – who has not been named for privateness causes – told the Standard some have confronted issue when making an attempt to safe a job in London.

“For many of the Hong Kongers, even if they have professional experience and qualifications, it’s not easy for them to get a job here.

“Frankly, there’s still some people who would prefer Europeans instead of Hong Kongers/Asians when they receive a CV and cover letter.”

She said some arrivals have handled employees who’re uninformed in regards to the BN(O) visa after they request help from the NHS, their native council or Government organisations equivalent to Jobcentre Plus.

“I’ve received a case for a Hong Konger who tried to get assistance from Jobcentre Plus, it’s the staff there,” the visa holder said, who additionally works for a human rights organisation.

“They don’t really know about the BN(O) visa. Some Government bodies, some staff didn’t receive enough guidelines when tackling BN(O) visa issues.

“If one doesn’t know your background, it’s quite hard for them to understand why we are here.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “Communications have been delivered to all our sites to ensure our staff are aware of any specific support available for those individuals following events in Afghanistan, Ukraine and Hong Kong.”

“We continue to work closely with other government departments to ensure of the smooth integration of British Nationals Overseas (BN(O)s) who choose to settle in the UK.”

The visa holder additionally told the Standard she and others in her family have been facing issues when it comes to discovering housing with many requested to pay lease in six-month lump sums.

She labelled the practise a “phenomenon” amongst property brokers within the capital.

“The landlord requested to sign a two-year fixed contract with us and at first they said they can review after a year.

“So we have to pay two six-month [payments] and in the next year they can review our financial situation.”

Simon Cheng, who based expatriate affiliation Hong Kongers in Britain, told the Standard there are other cases of Hong Kongers being requested for big sums of money upfront.

“We receive similar cases asking for help quite often in London, and they usually need to try  two or three times [before finding] a landlord who could offer them such a deposit for three months or less.”

Mr Cheng said requiring BN(O) visa holders to pay a six-month deposit is a “deterrent” and “unwelcoming” message to latest Hong Kong arrivals in London.

“Stable income with employment should be enough for landlords to regard Hong Kongers ready to contribute in London and in the UK,” he said.

Sarah Olney, MP for Richmond, the place many Hong Kong arrivals settle, said the revelations have been “absolutely shocking” as she referred to as for a five-week cap on rental deposits.

The National Residential Landlord Association told the Standard it was “not the norm” for potential tenants to be requested for six months upfront “and generally not favoured by landlords”.

But Renters’ Rights London Project Co-ordinator Portia Msimang said “it’s all too common” for London landlords to demand a number of months of lease prematurely the place renters can’t present a UK guarantor and don’t have any historical past of renting right here.

“This practice isn’t restricted to people coming from Hong Kong on the BN(O) visa.It’s most unwelcome and looks discriminatory but it’s not that unusual in London.

“I know of renters from various countries; Australia, China and Turkey spring to mind, who have had to pay many months rent in advance to secure a tenancy.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “Landlords should not be asking for multiple months in advance, as it is likely to be unaffordable for many tenants and may impact landlords’ ability to find tenants for their property.”

The division confirmed {that a} landlord is permitted to request lease to be paid prematurely up to the overall lease of the initial fastened time period. Any extra to this sum is a prohibited cost under the Tenant Fees Act 2019.


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