From January 2021, Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) status holders can now apply for a new immigration route, enabling them and their dependents to come to the UK to live, work and study, on a pathway to citizenship.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) created 12 “Welcome Hubs” across the UK to support new arrivals, and the West Midlands SMP is one of these hubs. These Hubs have been funded to ensure that newly arrived BN(O) status holders are able to access information to help their integration into the UK. Although in its early stages, the West Midlands SMP has identified topics such as housing, education, health, employment and tackling hate crime as key to integration success. We would actively welcome contact from people arriving from Hong Kong, councils, schools, local voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) groups, as well as other stakeholders to help us develop our work. Please do get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org
The website and Welcome Hub are currently under development. We will be adding useful resources over the coming weeks, to provide information for BN(O) visa holders, their dependants and those supporting them.
More information on the Hong Kong BN(O) Integration Programme can be found in the following links:
As this project is still in its preliminary stages, gathering more information about the needs of new arrivals is essential to help inform the design of the support we provide. Consequently, we would welcome contact from schools, councils, local voluntary organisations as well as people arriving from Hong Kong themselves.
The Hong Kong Regional VCSE Grant Scheme – West Midlands priorities.
As outlined in the Regional VCSE Grant Scheme prospectus, we have compiled a list of regional priorities, which can be found below. However we are also keen to encourage bids that come from groups support Hong Kong BN(O) status holders, In particular where these groups identify other needs which come directly from BN(O) status holders and their family members.
As a region, the priorities we have identified (in no particular order) are as follows:
English Language support: particularly for those who may require language support that is not met by regular ESOL provision, or that has a focus on groups that may face more barriers in accessing standard provision
Employment and business support: we welcome bids that consider innovative ways to support BN(O) status holders to access the UK employment market and that support the establishment or development of new business ventures
Access to Health services: particularly focusing on GP registration; COVID Vaccination access and update; understanding rights and entitlements to Health services and support to ensure these are being met; support for older people accessing health and social care services.
Mental health and wellbeing: we welcome bids that support increasing the provision of mental health services to Hong Kong BN(O) populations, in participant where these offer Cantonese-speaking services
Immigration advice: some BN(O) status holders may require immigration advice on a range of topics, including the removal of the No Recourse to Public Funds provision if required. We welcome bids that develop the capacity of the immigration advice sector, or support to people who are facing financial difficulties or destitution, including signposting to appropriate qualified or statutory services if required.
Destitution advice: we welcome bids that provide advice and support to people who are facing financial difficulties or destitution, including signposting to appropriate qualified or statutory services if required
Combatting hate crime: we welcome bids that increase awareness of the right to report hate crime and support people to report this, as well as bids that seek to increase knowledge and awareness of laws and practice in the UK
General advice and integration support: we welcome bids in relation to the understanding of rights and entitlements in the UK (e.g. housing, social care, education); integration activities (one-off or regular); cultural exchanges and the brining together of communities.
As a region, we are keen to see bids which consider how to support this work past the end of the funding in March 2022, and support BN(O) status holders to integrate beyond this date.
If you wish to discuss any of these further, please do not hesitate to contact us on email@example.com