I'm asking just about people born in HK who were just BN(O), weren't British citizens, and had no other citizenship or nationality.

Is this Reddit comment right?

Andalucia1453. 10 points 14 hours ago

Why didn’t the UK offer them citizenship or give them British Citizenship like Portugal did with Macau?

cortanakya. 23 points 13 hours ago

The UK kind of did. When the handover happened anyone in Hong Kong was offered the right to abode in the UK, which is basically citizenship without the right to vote. If you live in the UK for a while legally it becomes rather easy to get citizenship so it's kind of a formality. Quite a few people took that deal, too. One of my best friends was born in Hong Kong and lives in the UK because of that exact deal.

Wikipedia doesn't say that "anyone in Hong Kong was offered the right to abode in the UK". See British nationality law and Hong Kong - Wikipedia.

After the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, many people in Hong Kong began to fear for their future post-1997. Emigration was rampant and a brain-drain was beginning to affect the economy of Hong Kong. To stem the drain, people urged the British government to grant full British citizenship to all Hong Kong BDTCs – but this request was never accepted. However, the British did agree to creating the British Nationality Selection Scheme, which granted to a select 50,000 people and their families the ability to obtain full British citizenship without having to fulfill the ordinary requirements, under the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act, 1990.[2]

  • 1
    The question in your title is slightly mismatched to the question in the body - the Reddit comment is clearly wrong but the expressed idea, that it was easy for BN(O) to acquire citizenship, has some basis in that BN(O) could become citizens by registration. This isn't the same as automatically becoming citizens before the handover, which doesn't seem to have ever been the case, that your title seems to be asking. – Semaphore Sep 16 '19 at 6:52
  • I highly doubt if this question is on topic in history.se since it's mostly about immigration laws than history, so I will just share some insight in comments. First of all BN(O) is a type of passport a.k.a travel documentation, which does not indicate by any means of nationality of the holder. BN(O) passports are basically an intermediate production of Hong Kong's hand over, and later been replaced by regular Hong Kong SAR passports, which basically functions the same and have basically the same perk. – tweray Sep 16 '19 at 16:52
  • So to answer your question, can BN(O) holder acquire UK citizenship? Yes, but still must abide to UK immigration law. As far as I know there hasn't been any BN(O) holders in bulk that got any privileges on acquiring UK citizenship after the BNSS which granted 50k people and their families citizenship between 1990-1994. – tweray Sep 16 '19 at 16:57

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