Opening the door to nearly three million people from Hong Kong would betray election pledge

June 05, 2020

Opening a new door to UK citizenship for just under three million people from Hong Kong seriously risks directly breaking the government's 2019 election pledge to reduce overall immigration numbers.

So says a paper by Migration Watch UK.

The paper also argues that the reasons offered by the government for opening such a route fall apart on examination.

The number involved (even without including dependants, whose number could be considerable) is potentially staggering and is about equivalent to the combined populations of four major UK cities – Birmingham (1.15 million), Leeds (780,000), Manchester (550,000) and Edinburgh (500,000) – see ONS figures.

The government says such a move would honour the UK's historical responsibilities to Hong Kong. But this seems to forget Ministers' historical responsibilities to 67 million people in the UK which the government were elected to uphold. The electorate might wish to know which has priority. At the moment the answer seems obvious.

Commenting, Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

With unemployment rapidly running into millions here, a potential inflow of up to three million people will prove deeply damaging. This is an ill-conceived, half-baked idea that risks undermining the democratic opposition’s efforts by pulling the rug from under their feet - something that will delight Beijing. The government really must think again about how best to support Hong Kong’s democratic opposition. This is not the way.

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