Giving British citizenship to 300,000 Hong Kongers will boost the economy

Linda J. Dodson

Around 300,000 people still hold BNO passports. With China threatening the quasi-independence of the territory, they might finally be offered full citizenship rights, or at least the option of living and working in this country.

That depends on how the political situation plays out. In truth, however, that offer should be made immediately, and without any form of restriction. It would be a huge boost for the economy, and at a time when it could really use it. Here’s why.

First, Hong Kong is home to some of the best-educated, hardest-working, most entrepreneurial people in the world. The OECD’s Pisa league table of education systems ranks it fourth in the world for maths, 10th for science, and fourth for reading (while the UK, in case you were wondering, doesn’t make the top 10 in any of those).

It is joint 13th in the world measured by per capita GDP, ahead of Germany and France, and of course this country as well. Over the past 50 years, it has recorded annual average growth of 5pc (don’t even ask what our figure is, it will just get you down). You don’t get those kinds of results by accident.

For a rocky little place, with no natural resources, and constantly bullied by its far larger parent country, it is a remarkable achievement.

The UK needs to move from primarily low-skilled, poorly educated immigration from eastern Europe to attracting high-skilled, highly educated new workers from wherever they happen to come from. That is one of the ways economies grow. There would be no better place to start that process than by welcoming lots and lots of immigrants from Hong Kong.

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