A group of MPs have called for an end to higher tuition fees for Hong Kong students, calling it a “barrier to opportunity”.
In a letter published in The Times, MPs said the UK National (Overseas) visa, which allows Hong Kongers to live and work in the UK, “has been a great success”.
But they added that “higher education rules create an unnecessary barrier to opportunity, since BNO visa holders are not eligible for living expenses status until they have lived in the UK. United for five years”.
The letter says BNO visa holders therefore face much higher fees than their UK counterparts, while being ineligible for student loans, and adds that the exceptional status given to Ukrainian students should be extended to Hong Kong students. .
I fear this may impact my freedom of choice and options regarding placement and level of study
Under the current system, Hong Kong students have to pay £22,831 a year more than domestic students for university fees.
The letter was signed by MPs from all political stripes, including Steve Baker, Robert Buckland, Nus Ghani, Damian Green, Paul Blomfield, Rupa Huq and Liam Byrne.
Government data released last week revealed that 113,742 people from Hong Kong had been granted BNO visas to the UK since the scheme opened on January 31, 2021.
If the rules were changed, those on a BNO visa would pay the same as domestic students and those with refugee status – no more than £9,250 a year for ongoing undergraduate courses – while at Currently, they must reside in the UK for five years before they can access loan funding.
Audrey, a sixth-former from South Wales who moved to the UK from Hong Kong with her parents under the scheme, said: ‘As well as dealing with cultural differences and adjusting to moving and s settling in the UK… – eligibility for local university fees and student loans will affect my chances of advancing in my studies for the future. »
She added that while she appreciated that her A-level studies were free, not being able to access university funding made her worry about how her family would support her through her higher studies.
“I’m afraid this will influence my freedom of choice and options regarding placement and level of study,” Audrey said.
She added that her parents ‘work hard and pay tax in the UK’ but she is not eligible for household costs, while if she can access financial support her family may be able to achieve his wish to settle in the UK and buy a house here.
We should not penalize young people in Hong Kong with high international fees, which would put university out of reach for many
Sunder Katwala, director of integration think tank British Future, said: “Britain has done the right thing in welcoming new arrivals from Hong Kong. Arriving families are here to stay and want to build new lives and careers in Britain. Like all of us, they want the best for their children.
“We should not penalize young people in Hong Kong with high international fees, which would put university out of reach for many. It’s their home now and they should be treated like homeschoolers.
The BNO program will be expanded from October 2022 to include adults born after 1997 with at least one BNO parent.