HC Deb 25 January 1985 vol 71 cc550-1W
Mr. J. Enoch Powell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will analyse the present population of the colony of Hong Kong, other than persons temporarily resident there, according to their existing nationality, specifying in each category the basis of that status and the estimated numbers holding it.

Mr. Luce

According to the latest figures available the total population of Hong Kong is approximately 5.3 million. The Hong Kong Government estimate that this figure is made up as follows:

  1. A. 20,000 British Citizens (with right of abode in the United Kingdom).
  2. B. 3 million British Dependent Territories citizens (with right of abode in Hong Kong).
  3. C. 1.8 million Chinese residents (ie persons of Chinese race with the right to reside in Hong Kong).
  4. C. 400,000 other persons of Chinese race (who have lived in Hong Kong for less than seven years and have not therefore acquired the right of permanent residence).
  5. E. 95,500 Other foreign nationals.
  6. F. 4,500 Stateless persons of non-Chinese race, most of whom originate from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Mr. Stanbrook

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why the new category of British nationality (overseas) is proposed for Hong Kong instead of the existing category of British overseas citizenship; and in what significant respects the former differs from the latter.

Mr. Luce

We believe that the circumstances of Hong Kong are unique and should be reflected in a unique status. There are also reasons why British overseas citizenship would not be an "appropriate status" within the terms of the United Kingdom memorandum. For example, British overseas citizenship may be acquired at any time by registration, but the United Kingdom memorandum imposes time limits on the acquisition of the new status.

The benefits to be accorded to holders of the proposed new status of "British national (overseas)" are still under detailed consideration and will be subject to parliamentary approval. The Government intend, however, that they should be broadly the same as those enjoyed by British dependent territories citizens, except for transmissibility. This means that there are unlikely to be major differences under United Kingdom law in the benefits enjoyed by holders of the proposed British national (overseas) status and the existing British overseas citizenship.

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