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January 28, 2021

Hong Kong asks dual nationals: Choose the nationality you wish to maintain

National

January 28, 2021

OTTAWA: Canadian authorities are concerned about the rights of 300,000 Canadian citizens in Hong Kong, after the territory’s government declared that dual citizens must choose the nationality they wish to maintain, foreign media reported. “Canada is aware of the Hong Kong government’s decision to require dual nationals to declare the nationality they wish to legally maintain while in Hong Kong,” said spokesperson John Babcock. China doesn’t recognise dual nationals under its Nationality Law and Hong Kong residents of Chinese descent are regarded as Chinese citizens. The Hong Kong government has stated that residents, around 300,000 of whom hold Canadian passports, are not entitled to consular protection unless they make a declaration of change of nationality. If that process is successful, they are no longer regarded as Chinese citizens – but it may affect their right of abode in Hong Kong, which allows people to live and work in the territory without restrictions. Foreign nationals can only acquire right of abode after a seven years residency requirement, which gives them the right to vote but not hold a territorial passport or stand for office. Britain will start accepting applications from people with British National (Overseas) status this week. BN(O) passport holders include 5.4 million Hong Kongers, who will soon be eligible to move to the UK and apply for citizenship after six years.