The high productivity of Hong Kong citizens and the tendency of migrants to work hard as they establish themselves would add to Britain’s wealth if the government’s special immigration pathway were used, the Centre for Economic and Business Research has said.
The consultancy estimated that mass migration of Hongkongers to the UK could boost the economy by £40 billion.
The foreign secretary has offered a route to UK citizenship for about three million residents of the former British colony, in response to the draconian national security law imposed by Beijing last week. In response China has threatened reprisals.
Anyone resident in Hong Kong before the handover to China in 1997, and so eligible for a British overseas passport, would be able to apply for five-year visas to work or study in the UK. After a further year of settled status they could apply for citizenship.
The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) estimated that a million of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million population could take up the offer.