- Organisations invited to bid for £2.6 million funding to deliver projects across the UK to help BN(O)s
- Government’s Hong Kong BN(O) Welcome Programme renewed for third year
- Continued funding for On Your Side, the hate crime reporting and support service for BN(O)s and all other East and South East Asian communities
The government today (1 March 2023) announced a further year of funding for its Hong Kong BN(O) Welcome Programme for 2023 to 2024, to support Hong Kongers coming to live in the UK under the BN(O) visa.
Today’s package will help individuals and their families on the BN(O) visa route to come and settle in the UK. Since its launch at the start of 2021, over 160,000 eligible Hong Kongers and their family members have chosen to take up this offer and applied for the BN(O) visa. They can start their new lives in the UK, free to live, work, and study, in virtually any capacity, on a pathway to citizenship.
The Welcome Programme is announcing:
- £2.6 million of funding for UK-wide and regional projects, inviting bids from voluntary, community and social enterprise (‘VCSE’) organisations.
- Continued funding for the network of 12 Welcome Hubs across the UK, helping BN(O)s understand and connect to services in their local area.
- Further funding for On Your Side, the reporting and support service for BN(O)s and all other East and Southeast Asian communities in the UK who experience or witness racism or any other form of hate*.
- Further funding for English language classes, and destitution support if needed, provided through local authorities in England. Over 3,600 BN(O)s have been supported with English through this funding.
- Continued updates to our dedicated GOV.UK page, including our Welcome Pack, available in English and Cantonese.
Felicity Buchan, Minister for the Hong Kong BN(O) Welcome Programme said:
BN(O)s have already become a vibrant part of the UK’s communities, making a fantastic contribution to our national life, and creating new businesses and social enterprises.
Continuing our support reflects our commitment to our new friends and neighbours on the BN(O) route. We are proud that so many have chosen to make the UK their home.
Since its launch in 2021, the British National (Overseas) (‘BN(O)’) visa route has been a success, with nearly 154,000 BN(O)s and their dependents granted their visa.
In previous funding rounds, the Welcome Programme has funded VCSE organisations to support BN(O)s in areas such as employability, mental health and wellbeing, and social integration, making a huge difference to people’s lives.
One such project is the Hong Kong Business Hub, supporting people in London and the North West of England, which provides professional coaching to entrepreneurs wanting to start their own businesses. After receiving professional coaching from the Hong Kong Business Hub, Rachel Tang and her partner secured a franchise deal to open their own bubble tea shop in London.
Another is the Health for All group in Yorkshire and Humberside, which offer a range of services, including English language, employability, and housing support.
One BN(O), who became involved as a volunteer at the Leeds-based organisation, said: “Volunteering at Health for All has helped me achieve my career goal. I like helping people with language needs, so I’m starting their interpreter course where I hope to help many others in the future.”
The Welcome Programme has also funded UKHK (a project of Welcome Churches), which has been running Friendship Festivals across the UK to bring together BN(O)s and their new communities. So far they have run 14 festivals in cities including Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast, and Cardiff, sharing food, entertainment and local traditions from Hong Kong.
If you are a BN(O) and want to find out more about the Welcome Programme, please see our dedicated GOV.UK page, available in English and Cantonese.