Moving to the UK from Hong Kong

Following China’s imposition of the National Security Law on the people of Hong Kong in July 2020, the UK government has introduced a new immigration route for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (“BN(O)”) status holders, providing the opportunity for them and their family members to live, work and study in the UK.

British National (Overseas) families coming to the United Kingdom on the Hong Kong BN(O) route will benefit from a dedicated package of support to help them settle successfully into life in the UK.

Backed by over £43 million, the Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) Integration Programme will help status holders access housing, work and educational support to ensure they are able to quickly integrate and contribute to their newfound communities.

The programme includes the following measures:

12 ‘virtual’ welcome hubs for new arrivals with funding for projects like local helplines, community led activities such as buddying up with other families, and English language support if needed, ensuring that people feel at home in their new community.

A £986,000 national Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) grant scheme will fund national projects that support BN(O) status holders in areas such as employment, mental health and wellbeing to help build community cohesion.

As a part of the VCSE fund, MHCLG will develop dedicated Hong Kong educational resources for schools so that they can teach young people about our historic connection and commitment to Hong Kong and its people and, celebrate the contribution of the Hong Kong-British and Chinese-British Diaspora to the UK.

Dedicated advice for BN(O)s and a comprehensive welcome pack to help BN(O) families navigate the move. This includes information on how to access public services, registering to vote and opening a bank account, pointing to local amenities like libraries and leisure centres and promoting the UK’s rich cultural, arts and music events, all translated into Cantonese.

Tax Implication of Moving to the UK from Hong Kong

Careful planning is a necessity when relocating to the UK, especially in relation to the tax regime.

The UK offers a beneficial tax system for non-domiciled individuals, meaning that an individual can be UK tax resident but potentially shield the wider worldwide income and gains.  This is not automatic however, and it is advisable to obtain pre-entry tax planning before moving to the UK, or at the very latest, as soon as an individual arrives in the UK.

There are many other issues that need consideration from a tax perspective.  Here is a list of a few of the main issues:

  • Acquiring a main residence in the UK and how this asset is held and/or funded and the associated costs, such as Stamp Duty Land Tax;
  • Capital taxes planning (UK Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax) as both are taxes unfamiliar to Hong Kong nationals. These are areas that have also undergone continual change in recent years;
  • Higher rates of tax in the UK compared to Hong Kong;
  • What capital can be remitted to the UK and how efficiently can this be achieved;
  • What are the longer term intentions of the individual.