PREPARE THE BOROUGH: 300,000 Hong Kong residents set to move to UK
Up to 300,000 people are predicted to emigrate from Hong Kong and move to the UK over the next five years
Up to 300,000 people are predicted to emigrate from Hong Kong and move to the UK over the next five years, and Trafford councillors want the borough to be prepared.
Trafford’s Liberal Democrats have raised the issue in a new motion set to go before full council on Thursday October 14, asking the council to keep track of who moves to the area and give them the support they will need.
It says: “As a result of the Chinese Government’s imposition of new ‘national security’ laws and the British governments policy shift on British National (Overseas) visas, many people are choosing to emigrate to the UK from Hong Kong.
“The Home Office predicts that as many as 300,000 HongKongers may choose to relocate to Britain with many choosing to settle in Trafford and elsewhere across Greater Manchester. This council recognises and welcomes the enormous contribution that immigrants of all nationalities and backgrounds have made to British life.
“The historical, political and economic factors currently surrounding democratic freedoms in Hong Kong make the decision to emigrate particularly stressful for many HongKongers. There are several considerations and measures that local authorities can take to extend the warmest possible welcome to everyone who decides to make the journey to the UK.”
A recent survey issued by HongKongers in Britain found that the average age of those applying to live in the UK currently is 37, and 71pc of those applicants have at least a university degree.
The Home Office estimates suggest a net benefit to government finances of between £2.4 and £2.9bn over the next five years as a result of the arrival of highly skilled migrants from Hong Kong.
The government intends to set up 12 ‘Welcome Hubs’ across the UK to support Hong Kong residents when they move to the UK.
They will also provide families with £2,720 per household (with a family member who holds a British National (Overseas) visa) to support them.
The group warned that, while the government currently predicts around 300,000 HongKongers could move to the UK by 2026, around 70pc of the population of Hong Kong are currently eligible for British National (Overseas) status so this number could rise ‘considerably’.
Trafford’s Lib Dems want to make sure the borough is ready to welcome and support those moving from Hong Kong to the area.
They want the council to keep an eye on the intake of Hong Kong children into Trafford’s schools and allocate additional resources for ‘English as a Second Language’ as well as personal, social, health and economic education to help them settle in.
The group also wants the council to help parents of children with special educational needs in particular by providing information the support available in Cantonese through the council’s website.
Lib Dems also want the council to write to the government’s Minister for Housing to express an interest in becoming part of the UK’s new Hong Kong ‘Welcome Hubs’ scheme.
The motion will be debated and voted on at the next full council meeting on Thursday October 14.
Words: Alice Richardson, Local Democracy Reporter
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