Milton Keynes hosts welcome event for newly arrived settlers from Hong Kong

UN Director for Milton Keynes Friendship Festival Christine Ho welcomes new settlers, ITV News Anglia reports.

Milton Keynes has held a welcoming event for people who have arrived from Hong Kong to settle in the city.

The friendship festival is one of several being held across the UK for the tens of thousands of people from the former British colony, who have moved to Britain under a special citizenship scheme.

This is the eighth event of its kind in the UK and one of the organisers hopes it will help people to integrate quickly. The festival celebrated the two different cultures with the hope strangers would become friends.

"I do remember at the beginning when I came over here 30 years ago I had no friends, no family here. I had no support, UN Director of Milton Keynes Friendship Festival, Christine Ho, said.

"I really wanted to make new friends but I didn't know how to,"

Thirty years on, the new arrivals are getting a very different experience.

Children at the Friendly Festival in Milton Keynes Credit: ITV Anglia

"We arrived the UK in May and it's lovely to be here to share with the other people about their experience. It is a lovely, fantastic festival here," Louis Li said.

"We're very proud in Britain of being a multicultural society and when new people come I think it's important that we take a step forward to welcome them as well as them coming here and wanting to take part in the community," Sue Butler, Joint CEO of Welcome Churches, said.

It is two years since the UK opened up a path to citizenship for an estimated 2.9million Hongkongers and their dependants.

The move came in response to China’s sweeping national security laws, and toughening curtails on protest.

In 2020, the Home Office announced plans to help grant rights to British National (Overseas) (BNO) citizens who live in Hong Kong so they could come to live and work in the UK..

The government suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong indefinitely, and extended an arms embargo that was already covering mainland China.As of January 2021, China said it would no longer recognise the BNO passport as a valid travel document or proof of identity.

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