The group, known as Hongkongers in Britain, said they have received reports of difficulties from some Hong Kong families in the UK, where their income is insufficient to afford paying the BN(O) visa and associated fees in one go.

In a letter written by Julian Chan, head of public affairs for Hongkongers in Britain, addressing the UK’s Secretary of State, it suggests UK authorities exercise discretion to review on a case by case basis and show compassion to some families in genuine need, considering BN(O) visa fees and associated costs to be paid in installments without using any further social resources.

“Many BN(O)s and their families who have arrived in the UK have already actively contributed towards the British society immediately after their arrival, such actions by UK authorities would avoid them being forced to return to Hong Kong simply because they are unable to afford the relevant fees,” Chan wrote.

The British government previously announced the new special class of visa for Hongkongers with BN(O) status in the wake of Beijing’s imposition of the sweeping national security law.

The new visas will allow the holder to live and work in Britain for up to five years, after which point they can pursue permanent residency, and then citizenship. However, visa holders will not be able to access public funds such as social welfare benefits.