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Hong Kong: Britain must prepare now for a great wave of immigrants

Failure to plan for the migration that followed Europe’s eastward expansion led to political chaos and Brexit. But as the UK opens the door to Hong Kong, we’re failing to plan once again

By James Ball  

5.4m Hong Kongers are now eligible to move to the UK. That is the right policy but we must be prepared for any influx. Photo: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

There is a case to be made that Tony Blair and his Home Office were the architects of Brexit. It’s an argument that stems from the choices made around the 2004 entry to the EU of the “accession eight” (A8)—the Union’s new Eastern European members.

Unlike the overwhelming majority of established EU states, the UK did not introduce any initial restrictions on the right to live and work in the country for citizens of the A8 nations—the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. We treated their citizens like other EU nationals from the off.

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