New arrivals from the Hong Kong struggle to jobs in the UK and rentals without a bank account

A new report reveals that many Hong Kongers migrating to the UK are hitting a brick wall while looking for accommodation.

According to a report released on Monday, British landlords are reluctant to transfer their property to BN (O) visa applicants from Hong Kong, the majority of whom work, rent, or property in the UK. I don’t have a bank account. The lack of government guidance is also a factor.

Without a permanent address in the UK, new arrivals also face other challenges such as opening a bank account and finding a school for their children.

In January, the British government provided a path to citizenship for holders of British national (overseas) status in Hong Kong when the freedom and human rights of the former British colony were under unprecedented threat from the Chinese administration. We have launched a new visa scheme aimed at that.

BN (O) visa applicants must be independent and independent while living in the UK, but do not need to find a job before arriving.

The new report is the result of a week-long survey led by the Hong Kongers (HKB) in the United Kingdom with the help of Hong Kong and resettlement communities, and Hackney China Community Services.

The three organizations are part of a civil society initiative called the “Hongkongers Welcome Committee” in which the government participated to gather the information needed to support the housing needs of BN (O) visa applicants.

In the last week of March, HKB invited 15,000 social media followers to share their housing concerns in the event of a planned or recent arrival in the UK, with 220-230 responding to the invitation.

According to an HKB report released last December, 73% of Hong Kongers planning to move to the UK considered accommodation to be their number one concern.

HKB co-founder Julian Cheung said on Monday, “This is the newest and most urgent issue, as it will affect other aspects of people’s lives, such as opening bank accounts, finding jobs and finding schools. It’s also one of them. ” During a virtual press conference.

Lack of documents

Studies show that most new arrivals check in at a hotel or AirBnB for a few weeks after arrival and then try to rent from a private landlord. A small percentage of respondents said they would rent / rent real estate before arriving in the UK.

BN (O) visa applicants are often not employed upon arrival and do not have a previous UK rental history, credit history, or UK bank account. This is the document most landlords need.

Therefore, some people said that finding a place to rent was very difficult, even if they were willing to pay a high deposit.

Another difficulty for those checking in to hotels and AirBnB is the lack of a current permanent address required when signing a tenant contract.

“Some families, especially those with children, have additional legislation requiring children over the age of 10 or 15 of the same sex to find the right type of accommodation in the UK shortly after arrival. We face hurdles. We have our own room, “the report added.

Landlords lack understanding of BN (O) visas

Immigration status is also an issue for some new arrivals. According to English law, the landlord is responsible for confirming the renter’s right to rent.

Chan said many landlords lacked an understanding of BN (O) visas.

“I’ve heard about cases where the landlord refuses to rent for fear of infringing on the rent,” he said.

According to the new policy, BN (O) citizens can apply for two periods, a 30-month vacation or a 5-year vacation, and a pass to citizenship is also available.

The government encouraged applicants to apply and travel to the UK after the visa system was fully functional in January. However, those who travel before the start of the system may be granted a 6-month extraordinary leave (LOTR) before applying for a new visa system.

Rent was more difficult, as most landlords offered a minimum one-year contract, while these individuals had only up to six months of rent at that time.

The Group has updated the current guidance for landlords to include the UK Government’s current BN (O) passports as having “rental rights”, LOTR and / or BN (O) s, and people from Hong Kong. Inflow.

Recommendations include providing temporary accommodation for rent until the applicant finds a long-term solution on arrival, temporary address and overseas income records and bank statement for banks, schools and realtors. It also includes encouraging you to accept the book.

Alexander Zhang contributed to this report.

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