Darryl Coote, UPI, July 9, 2020
Australia said Thursday it will suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and create a path to permanent residency for citizens from the former British colony with temporary visas in response to a draconian national security law Beijing imposed last week.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a press conference that Australia has formally notified Hong Kong and advised Chinese authorities of plans to end their extradition treaty, stating the new security law “constitutes a fundamental change of circumstances” in regards to Australia’s relationship with Hong Kong.
“And so, Australia today has taken steps to formally suspend our extradition agreement with Hong Kong,” he said.
Morrison added that because of the new law — which criminalizes acts of secession, sedition, subversion, terrorism and working with foreign agencies to undermine the national security of China in Hong Kong — that Australia has changed its immigration policies to create a path to permanent residency for Hongkongers holding temporary visas.
Some 10,000 Hong Kong residents currently in Australia had their temporary skilled-worker or students visas extended by five years on Thursday, Morrison said, adding that after that time they may apply for permanent residency.
The permanent residency offer will also be made to future visa applicants from Hong Kong with those working or studying in rural areas only having to wait three years instead of five, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Australia will also put forth efforts to attract export-oriented Hong Kong businesses to its shores, Morisson said, describing Australia as a “great immigration nation.”
Last week, Canada suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and Britain created a pathway to citizenship for some 3 million Hong Kong residents who hold British national overseas passports and their families.