UK officials had also said they planned to expand the visa initiative in October to accept applications from Hongkongers to independently settle in the country if residents have at least one parent with BN(O) status and were born on or after July 1, 1997.
Immigration data from the Hong Kong government, meanwhile, showed that the number of residents opting to renew or apply for their HKSAR passports increased from 250,896 in 2020 to 312,536 in 2021.
However, Willis Fu Yiu-wai, a senior immigration consultant for Goldmax Associates, said residents could be holding both types of travel documents as a contingency, noting it was common for people to have more than one passport.
“From my point of view, having one more passport is always better, just to ‘play it safe’,” he said. “We do not know what will happen in the future, especially in regard to the political situation, so renewing the BN(O) is normal.”
Fu said he believed most eligible Hongkongers would apply for both HKSAR and BN(O) passports, then opt to use whichever travel document they needed based on the political situation at the time.
Both Fu and Grant also noted that BN(O) passports were widely recognised as valid travel documents.