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Arriving in Yorkshire and Humber as a Hong Kong British National Overseas

Introductory information to help you settle in the UK and get to know Yorkshire.


Logo - Department for Levelling Up, Housing and CommunitiesIn April 2021, the UK government announced a national welcome and integration package for Hong Kong British National Overseas status holders 

Migration Yorkshire is coordinating the welcome programme for new arrivals settling in Yorkshire and Humber, including creating this web page to provide access to useful resources and link people with services.

Latest news

Hong Kong Welcome ‘Drop-in’ sessions, starting from Wednesday 20 October 2021

We’re continuing our welcome to Hongkongers settling in the Yorkshire and Humber region with online Wednesday lunchtime drop-in sessions covering key aspects of life in the UK. The sessions will be on every other Wednesday from 12:00pm to 13:30pm and a Cantonese interpreter will be present.

Dates and topics covered:

  • 20th October – Securing school places, with guest speakers from Leeds, Sheffield, York and Wakefield school admission teams.
  • 3rd November – Private housing – explaining the process of renting, with guest speakers from landlords associations and local authority’s private rented housing team.
  • 17th November – Employment support, with guest speakers from local employability projects.
  • 1st December – Access to health service in the UK – how to register with a GP, find a dentist and optician, find out about pregnancy and maternity care and more.
  • 15th December – Open discussion, come and ask any question you have!

Things you need to know:

Leaflet in English - drop in sessions.

Leaflet in Cantonese - drop-in sessions.

Virtual welcome events

Migration Yorkshire recently hosted a series of virtual welcome events for Hongkongers arriving in Yorkshire and Humber, offering new arrivals the opportunity to learn more about support available. Click here to download slides from our September 2021 welcome events [PowerPoint format, 2MB]

What is a BNO visa?

A British National Overseas visa, known as BNO visa, enables the holder to live, work and study in the UK. You can choose to stay for either 2 years and 6 months or 5 years initially, and later apply to settle in the UK permanently, including applying for British citizenship, if you wish to.

For more info about the BNO visa, including eligibility and process, please check the BNO leaflet. For queries regarding your visa, contact UK Visa and Immigration contact centre on 0300 790 6268.

How can I apply for a BNO visa?

If you're from Hong Kong and hold BNO status, you can apply for a BNO visa from the UK, if you haven’t already.

If you're currently in the UK on a different UK visa, you can apply to switch to a BNO visa, if you meet the criteria.

Your family members can also apply for a BNO visa if they’re eligible, but they must usually apply at the same time as you.

What rights do I have with a BNO visa?

A BNO visa allows the holder to work, study, rent a property and access the NHS.

A BNO visa has a no recourse to public funds [NRPF] condition attached to it, which means that a visa holder cannot access benefits or any other support classed as public funds, such as Child Benefit, Universal Credit or Personal Independent Payment [PIP].

However, if the visa holder is struggling to cover the costs of housing and living [if they become destitute or are at ‘imminent risk of destitution’], they can get the NRPF condition removed from their leave by applying for a change of conditions of leave. Such an application requires access to OISC-regulated legal advice and is not covered by a free legal aid. For fee support with the application in Yorkshire and Humber, you can contact local Citizen Advice offices or Law Centres.

While the change of condition application is pending, a BNO visa holder can receive support with housing and living costs from their local authority [council]. Please contact Ewa at Migration Yorkshire for more details on who to contact in your area.

Free childcare A child of a BNO visa holder is entitled to 15 hours per week of free childcare only. This applies to children who are age 3 to 4 years old only and is accessible from the term after the child’s 3rd birthday [September, January or April]. A local childcare provider or local council can be contacted for more information. While some parents can access 30 hour free childcare for their children, a NRPF condition prevents BNO visa holders from applying for additional hours.

Understanding rights of Hong Kong BNO visa holders

Frequently asked questions for employers and landlords, about the rights of Hong Kong BNO visa holders

How can I access services in the UK?

An online welcome guide for BNO status holders, published by the UK government and available in English and Cantonese, contains information about:

  • accessing public services, such as registering with a GP and applying for a National Insurance Number
  • understanding life in the UK – how to rent or buy a house, set up a business or apply for a school place for your children


Open University offers a number of free courses that can be accessed online. Courses cover a wide range of subjects, from English skills for life and supporting children’s mental health and well-being, to the importance of interpersonal skills and planning a better future.

Prince's Trust is a charity helping young people up to the age of 30 get into jobs, education and training, including setting up their own business. Support is free and available across the UK. For more information, see the Prince's Trust 'Opportunities near me' page, call 0800 842 842 or use the Princes Trust online chat.


National Career Advice provide free tailored information, advice and guidance to help individuals to make decisions on learning, training and work. To speak to career adviser in your area, call on 0800 100 900 or use National Career Advice's online chat.

Nurses  Are you a nurse and hoping to work in the UK or already working in the NHS and would like to connect with other nurses from Hong Kong? If so, contact Hong Kong Nursing Association UK  (hknauk.org) for information, pastoral care, and support.

Healthcare professionals  Are you a healthcare professional and looking for a job? If you're a doctor or one of the allied health professionals [for example, a physiotherapist, dietitian or podiatrist] and you'd like to practise in the UK, please contact Florence Cantle, who is an international recruitment lead for NHS England on f.cantle@nhs.net or 07783 820 861.


How to use the National Health Service [NHS] - video in Cantonese

You do not need proof of address or immigration status to register with a GP [a doctor or 'general practitioner'] who is usually the first contact if you have a health problem. Find your local GP.


Housing Rights gives recent arrivals information about people's rights when looking for a home, based on their immigration status. It includes legal rights renters have and how to ensure you are treated fairly when renting privately.

In May 2021, the Secretary of State issued a letter to landlord and letting agent representative organisations which provides further information regarding the legal status of Hong Kong BNO status holders, which may help when renting a property.

Other sources of information

Hongkongers in Britain is a civil society organisation established in 2020. It's an expat diaspora and community-building group, whose objectives are to provide assistance, advice and support for the Hongkonger community, enabling them to settle, integrate, and contribute towards the UK society.

Website: www.hongkongers.org.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HongkongersUK
Email: hongkongersinbritain@protonmail.com

Welcome HK–Brits has lots of bilingual resources covering different aspects of life in the UK.

How can I access services in Yorkshire and Humber?

Help with finding work or setting up a business

For local help with finding jobs, writing a CV and interview practice, contact organisations providing employment support through Building Better Opportunities funding:

Leeds City Region [Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale, Kirklees, York, Harrogate, Selby, Skipton]

Sheffield City Region [Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield]

York, North Yorkshire and East Riding

Humber [Hull, East Riding, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire]

Support with setting up business: Ad:Venture is for people who are planning to start, or have started a new business with high growth potential, and have been trading for less than 3 years. It is open for people who live in Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale [Halifax], Kirklees [Huddersfield, Dewsbury], Wakefield, York and Harrogate, Selby and Craven [Skipton]. The Ad:Venture registration form is here.

English classes

If you'd like to find English classes near you, visit the Learning English website. Some are free for everyone, while others might have tighter funding restrictions. A BNO visa holder cannot access free English classes or any courses that are funded through the Adult Education Budget. However, for those over 19, a local authority [council] can cover the cost of learning English for up £800 per person. Please contact Ewa at Migration Yorkshire for more details.

Services in Leeds

To find services and information related to living in Leeds, visit New to Leeds - A guide for migrants moving to Leeds from abroad.

Getting to know Yorkshire

Yorkshire and Humber region includes:


  • East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Hull
  • North East Lincolnshire
  • North Lincolnshire

South Yorkshire:

  • Barnsley
  • Doncaster
  • Rotherham
  • Sheffield

West Yorkshire:

  • Bradford
  • Calderdale
  • Kirklees
  • Leeds
  • Wakefield

York and North Yorkshire

To find out about places worth visiting and current events in Yorkshire, visit the Welcome to Yorkshire website.

To connect with a local church participating in the welcome to Hongkongers, an initiative by Welcome Churches, visit the UKHK website.

Contact us for more information

You're welcome to contact Ewa Jamróz, who works at Migration Yorkshire and is leading on the Hong Kong Welcome Programme in our region.

Email: ewa.jamroz@migrationyorkshire.org.uk

Phone: 0113 378 9017

Subscribe to our mailing list

If you’d like to receive updates on:

  • new projects and support available in your area
  • details of our events and ways of getting involved

…you’re welcome to subscribe to our Hong Kong Welcome Programme mailing list.

To do this, please read our mailing list privacy notice, which tells you how we'll take care of your data and explains how to subscribe.

Click here to read the privacy notice in Cantonese.

Past newsletters:

October 2021, Newsletter in English and Newsletter in Cantonese.



Page last updated: 19/10/2021 13:34:09

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