In summer 2020, in response to the changing political situation in Hong Kong, the British Government created a new visa route for those who registered before 1997 as British Nationals Overseas in Hong Kong, but now want to come and live in the UK. The new route opened in January 2021. Those arriving might be highly skilled and some will speak good English, but they will still need help settling into the UK. Helping people settle in doesn’t need special skills: it could be as simple as showing them how to use the local transport system, or where to buy school uniform. Even if you are housebound or shielding, you can offer a friendly phonecall or email to welcome newcomers to the area.
You can sign up for a national Hong Kong Ready Welcome webinar on 18 March at 8pm for more information about how Christians can welcome those from Hong Kong and fight racism with hospitality. The Bishop of Southwark has recorded a prayer for the event:
“Grant to your church and to this nation such a spirit of welcome and hospitality that the gifts of all your children might be recognised and our life together strengthened in faith and hope and love.”
There is a Southwark presence at the event, for which the Bishop of Southwark has recorded a prayer, and our Head of JPIC, Nicola Thomas, was interviewed about the challenges newcomers to the UK can face building on her previous experience as Deputy Director for Refugee Integration at the Home Office.
For more information about welcoming new arrivals to the Diocese, please contact Nicola Thomas.