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UK opens welcome package for fleeing Hong Kongers

04/07/2021 | 11:30pm EDT

Britain has pledged support for people from Hong Kong looking to resettle in the UK, to the tune of $59 million dollars.

It's part of a wider effort to let millions of Hong Kongers into Britain after China imposed new security laws in its former colony.

The UK said Thursday the money will mostly go to programs for English language support and housing and efforts to help those from Hong Kong find jobs.

Since January, thousands of Hong Kong residents have been able to apply for special five-year visas and eventually become UK citizens.

With the new offer, Britain plans to launch a dozen 'welcome hubs' around the UK to help with registering for healthcare, schools, and provide advice for setting up businesses there.

Britain says it is fulfilling a historic and moral commitment to the people of Hong Kong and that China's security laws are being used to silence dissent.

Ministers say the visa program is a way of honoring their side of the deal to hand Hong Kong back to Beijing in 1997.

China has reacted angrily to the UK's efforts and have said that the West's views are clouded by misinformation and imperialism.

So far, 27,000 people applied for the visa scheme through March... and the UK expects 300,000 people to apply over the next five years.

© Reuters 2021
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