Whitehall’s highest estimate is that around half a million Hong Kong people are expected to settle in the UK in the first year and just over a million over five years.
Friday marked the first time the government assigned a number to the adoption of the program, which was introduced in response to Beijing’s imposition of a large-scale national security law on the Asian city last summer. .
The law is widely seen in Hong Kong as a way for China to restrict freedoms in the city after more than a year of protests against the mainland’s growing influence.
Beijing, meanwhile, accused the UK of “political manipulation” by opening its doors to Hong Kongers wanting to leave.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a video call on Friday afternoon with four families of British (overseas) nationals from Hong Kong who had moved to the UK last year.
During the call, Mr Johnson said: ‘On behalf of the whole country I want to say how happy we are to have you here and how proud we are that you have chosen the UK to live. ”
He added: “The UK has a long and proud history of embracing those who come to our shores in search of the inalienable rights and freedoms denied to them in their homeland. I am very proud that we were able to make this offer to you and other UK nationals (overseas). ”