Frequently Asked Questions for Employers and Landlords
What is a Hong Kong BN(O) visa?
The Hong Kong British National Overseas Visa is a scheme open to Hongkongers who have British National status and their dependent family members. The scheme opened on 31 January 2021.
People with BNO status can apply for the visa prior to coming to the UK or they can apply within the UK. The visa can be granted for a period of 30 months or 5 years.
How do I know if someone has a Hong Kong BN(O) visa?
There are two main types of documentation that proves someone has a BNO visa, depending on the application process:
If a BN(O) status holder has a vignette, they have to collect a biometric residence permit (BRP) after they arrive, or
If the BN(O) status holder applied for the BN(O) route online, they will receive a digital immigration status which they will be able to view online.
The BN(O) status holder can also use the online service to share their immigration status information with others, for example, employers, local authorities or universities. See further information on immigration status
What rights come with the BN(O) visa?
Holders of a BN(O) visa have the right to work, rent, buy, vote and study in the UK. They are entitled to access most NHS services free of charge since they have paid the immigration health surcharge. They do not have access to public funds, meaning they cannot claim welfare benefit or homelessness and housing assistance, but they can apply to remove the condition preventing access to public funds, should they be at risk of destitution
How do I check the right to work of a BN(O) visa holder?
Employers can check BN(O) visa holder’s right-to-work as they would normally – by verifying physical documents or checking immigration status online. Visa holders can prove their right-to-work by generating a share code needed for online verification or show biometric residence permit or card. Following the online check, employers can download a PDF document [see example of a right-to-work check here] which can be retained as evidence.
It is important to remember that the BN(O) visa holder may not have access to all the evidence, therefore DLUHC would encourage local authorities to take a flexible approach to the evidence requested.
How do I check the right to rent of a BN(O) visa holder?
Landlords should carry out a right-to-rent check as they would normally. Visa holders and applicants can prove their right-to-rent online through generating a share code, which can then be used by a landlord to view status online or by showing physical documents such as a biometric residence permit or card.
Who can I contact with questions related to the right to work or rent of a BN(O) visa holder?
You can contact the Home Office helpline for employers and landlords by phone on 0300 790 6268.
What is the qualification level about education in Hong Kong
The UK European Network Information Centre (UK ENIC) provides expert advice on behalf of the UK Government on the comparability of international qualifications, including those from Hong Kong to UK qualifications.
For more information, please visit www.enic.org.uk
Can a BN(O) visa holder work without National Insurance Number [NINo]?
Yes, those who don’t yet have a NINo can undertake employment providing they can show they have the right to work.
Is there any job that a BN(O) visa holder cannot do?
Yes, they cannot play or coach professional sports.
How do I check the rights of those awaiting decision on their BN(O) visa?
The UK government temporarily allowed Hong Kong BN(O)s to enter the UK and seek Leave Outside the Rules [LOTR] at the border, enabling them to live, work and study in the UK for 6 months, while they apply for the BN(O) visa. LOTR is given as a stamp in the passport [click here to see an example photo of a LOTR stamp on a passport page] and it is valid while the BN(O) visa application is being processed as long as the application had been made before LOTR expired.
If the application is outstanding beyond the original date indicated on the stamp, you can contact the Home Office via the Employer Checking Service to receive a Positive Verification Notice confirming that the applicant has the right to work for another 6 months.
However, some BN(O) visa applicants and their dependents may have initially come to the UK on another visa route such as a Family, Visitor, and Skilled worker or Student. They might, or might not, have the right to work, whilst awaiting a decision on a BN(O) visa. This will be dependent on the conditions of their existing visa.
What can I do if there is discrimination around the workplaces or properties?
If someone you know is the victim of racism do tell the Police about it. Do not try to deal with racism or racist attackers on your own.
Further reassurance for victims of Hate Crime can be found here at https://www.report-it.org.uk/covid_19_and_racis_hate_crime
Who can I contact if I have any questions about this FAQ?
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org