Australia extends visas for Hong Kong citizens, suspends extradition pact
SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday that the government has introduced certain measures to help Hong Kong citizens begin a new life in the country. They include visa extension by five years. This comes in the wake of Beijing imposing a new security law on the Asian financial hub.
The prime minister also suspended an extradition treaty with Hong Kong. He said the new law which was introduced last week was a fundamental change of circumstances and Australia would suspend the extradition treaty.
“There will be citizens of Hong Kong who may be looking to move elsewhere, to start a new life somewhere else, to take their skills, their businesses,” he said.
Hong Kong students who graduate in Australia will get the chance to stay for five years and apply for permanent resident permits during that time.
Citizens of Hong Kong working in Australia on temporary job visas would be eligible for a five-year extension. They too can later apply for permanent residency.
The prime minister said that there are as many as 10,000 Hong Kong citizens in the country on student or temporary work visas.
Australia is also gunning for international financial services, consulting and media businesses with regional headquarters in Hong Kong wooing them to relocate by offering incentives and visa packages to shift their staff.
“We want them to look to Australia, to come, to set up shop,” said acting immigration minister Alan Tudge.
Australia also altered its travel advisory for Hong Kong, where around 100,000 Australians reside and work, saying “reconsider your need to remain in Hong Kong” if they are concerned about the new law.
It warns Australians “may be at increased risk of detention on vaguely defined national security grounds”.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne held a video conference with her counterparts in the Five Eyes security arrangement – the UK, US, New Zealand and Canada – about Hong Kong and the new law.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field