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New Hong Kong British Nationals (overseas) visa concessions


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Last month, two new visa concessions were added to the Hong Kong British Nationals (overseas) (BN(O)) route. You can read about them in more detail in the Home Office guidance.

Leave outside the rules where financial or residency requirements cannot be met

The second amendment extends the concession that enables the Home Office to grant 12 months leave outside the rules to applicants who apply from within the UK for the BN(O) visa, but who do not meet the financial requirements or ordinarily resident requirement at the time of the application. This should allow them more time to meet the eligibility requirements ahead of their next BN(O) visa application. 

This concession does not apply if the individual has not met the suitability requirements. Family members will only be granted limited leave to remain where the BN(O) status holder or the adult child of a BN(O) status holder is also being granted that permission. 

Where discretionary grants of leave are given in this way, but the applicant applied for a 30-month or five-year visa, they will be issued a refund for the difference in the amount of Immigration Health Surcharge paid (£624 per year).

This grant of leave outside the rules gives the applicants the right to work and study in the UK, but they will not have access to public funds. Any periods of leave outside the rules will also not count towards the five-year qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Where a main applicant has passed away

The first amendment extends the concession allowing family members of a main applicant who passed away during the application process to continue to apply for the BN(O) visa as if their main applicant relative were still alive. Family members of a BN(O) status holder who died before an application was made will not be eligible to apply as if they were their dependents.

Where the main applicant submitted their application before passing away, if the visa would not have been refused and their identity can be verified, the applications of any family members should still be considered. A caseworker will assess whether they meet the eligibility and suitability requirements of the route as if the deceased applicant were still alive. Identity can be proven if the main applicant had already attended a biometrics appointment, or by requesting their passport if they had not.

Additional evidence may be requested, for example if maintenance funds were held exclusively by the deceased main applicant at the time of applying.

One of the remaining family members will be appointed the main applicant for the purpose of granting permission for other dependents. In most cases, this may be an adult dependent partner who is already responsible for the care of the remaining dependents. If the deceased was the sole care provider for dependents under the age of 18 or an adult dependent relative then the applications will be refused on the grounds that they do not meet the care requirements of the route.

Finally, if a BN(O) status holder passes away during the application process and their dependents subsequently make a further application under the route, their applications may be considered as if the deceased applicant were still alive.

These concessions will only affect a small number of individuals, but for these individuals, they should make a significant difference at a time in their life where they have been hit by a particular hardship.

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