Support and guidance for Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) in Surrey

Read this page in Traditional Chinese on Google Translate: 為舒梨的香港英國國民(海外)提供支援與指引


Page contents


Welcome to Surrey

This guide is for Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) (HK BN (O)) living in Surrey and it includes how to access essential public services and healthcare, plus how to find work, get access to childcare and education services.

Surrey is made up of 11 districts and boroughs, some services that you will need can be provided by these district and borough councils, others are provided by us, Surrey County Council.

To find out which district or borough you are in, open the link and type the town or village where you are living into this map Surrey interactive map

You can also find out more about council and health services in the area where you are living and a wider range of services on Connect to Support Surrey.


Help and advice

If you are a British National in Hong Kong, or are the family member of a British National in Hong Kong, and you are in need of assistance, please contact either:


For legal advice, please contact Citizens Advice.


Who to call in an emergency

In an emergency, call 999 and ask for one of these four services:

Reporting hate crimes or politically motivated crimes

If you have been the victim of a hate crime or a politically motivated crime you can receive free, confidential advice and support from On your Side website and in Traditional Chinese: 在你身邊

Reporting non-urgent crimes

To contact the police in a situation that isn't an emergency, you can submit a crime report online via the Surrey Police website, or you can select the live chat button in the bottom right of the Surrey Police website. You can also call on 101.

Emergency food

Go to food banks for emergency food supplies (Trussell Trust) - see more about food banks.


Health and welfare support

Registering with a doctor (GP) to get healthcare

Everyone in the UK is entitled to register with a doctor, known as a General Practitioner and commonly known as a GP. If you have routine health problems in the UK, you would usually first visit a GP as they can offer medical advice, provide a diagnosis, and prescribe medicines. They might be your first point of contact for many physical and mental health concerns. The GP practice, or doctors' surgery, is also responsible for coordinating and managing your long-term healthcare and they can refer you if you need more specialised hospital services. You are entitled to a translator, see Language interpretation migrant health guide (GOV.UK) for more information.

To register with a GP, you do not need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number (however, you may be asked to provide ID but it is not a requirement). We strongly recommend that you register with a GP as soon as possible after you arrive. You can also register temporarily if you expect to be in an area for more than 24 hours but less than 3 months. If you have ID, this can help make sure your name is spelled correctly in your NHS records.

Doctors of the World website has an infographic that helps guide you through NHS Services, and NHS entitlement: migrant health guide (GOV.UK) also has helpful information.

Find your nearest GP service (NHS)

Interpreters

You can request an interpreter (GOV.UK) and it is the responsibility of the the health care provider you are seeing to arrange an interpreter on your behalf. When calling NHS 111 for health advice, you will be given the option to request an interpreter to help with your call.

Written translations (GOV.UK) of health documents and leaflets can be requested from your primary health provider.

Adult social care - getting support for a vulnerable adult

Adult social care helps people who are frail, have disabilities or mental health issues and the people who care for them.
Find out about our adult social care services in Surrey and who can access them via our adult social care and support web pages.
If you need further information or advice, you can call 0300 200 1005, email asc.infoandadvice@surreycc.gov.uk or use SMS (for the deaf or hard of hearing) on 07527 182 861.

Reporting concerns for an adult

If you are concerned that an adult may be at risk of harm, abuse or neglect, please report it.

  • Call 0300 470 9100 (available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
  • During evenings, weekends and bank holidays, the Emergency Duty Team is available.
  • Call 01483 517898 or email: edt.ssd@surreycc.gov.uk

More information about health and welfare in Surrey.

Mental health

Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions.
If you, or someone you love, need help this is best arranged through making an appointment with your GP. If you are struggling but do not want to talk to a GP, there are a wide-range of support organisations that offer helplines where you can talk in confidence to a trained advisor.

These include:

See Healthy Surrey mental wellbeing for information about local services and also Adult Social Care's pages on mental health.

Other mental health support services, helplines and courses


Housing

HK BN(O) visa holders are usually not eligible for social housing due to their No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) status. If you encounter a landlord or a letting agency who is unsure about the HK BN(O) scheme, it can be helpful to show the landlord or the agency the following letter on the GOV.UK website by Lord Greenhalgh explaining: the rights of HK BN(O)s to rent in the UK (GOV.UK PDF).

If you encounter serious financial difficulties and become destitute, you can apply to have your NRPF condition lifted, please see Financial support for Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) (PDF) for advice on how to do this. This document was produced by Citizens Advice in North and West Kent (CANWAK) and has been published with their permission.

We strongly advise any HK BN(O) in the South East of England applying to lift their NRPF status to contact Citizens Advice in North and West Kent (CANWK) for free immigration advice, as this can greatly improve your chances of getting the condition lifted. Their email address is: hkbnosupport@nwkent.cab.org.uk.

The UK government will also reimburse the council up to £2,720 per household for housing costs they have incurred whilst you are waiting to have your NRPF condition lifted. For more information, contact your borough and district council's housing team. Please see their webpages about housing and homelessness in the list below:


Getting children into a school for education

If you are a parent or carer who would like to apply for a school place for your child, you can do this by visiting Apply for an in-year school place.

Free home to school travel

Some children are eligible for home to school travel assistance. For criteria and how to apply please see apply for under-16 travel assistance to school.

Free school meals

Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 automatically get free school meals. Children in Year 3 or above may be eligible for free school meals. This includes if their parent is receiving Universal Credit (which a HK BN(O) can only access after they have successfully had their NRPF condition lifted). For more information and to apply for free school meals, you should contact your child's school.


Family support and childcare

Our Family Information Service website includes the following information to support families and much more:

  • Childcare and early education
    • Information and eligibility criteria for funded early education and childcare for children aged 2 to 4 years.
    • Information on Tax Free Childcare for working parents of children aged up to 12 years.
    • A childcare finder where families can enter their post code to search for local childcare provision.
    • Information about Family Centres who may be able to signpost families to local childcare provision and advise on how to make an application for funded early education.
  • Family finance
  • Support and advice for families

Learning to speak English

Our Surrey Adult Learning courses

These courses are free. If your English language speaking level is intermediate to advanced, you can attend our Courses for Hongkongers that are taught in English. However, if you would like to learn English, then our Adult Learning service run English courses for speakers of other languages at our learning centres in Surrey.


How to get work

For useful information about gaining employment in the UK please see: Hongkongers in Britain's employment page which contains resources such as an in depth guide on your employment rights in the UK available in Traditional Chinese.

Another useful information site is Prospects job profiles page which provides in depth information on different employment sectors in the UK including entry requirements and salary expectations. The site is designed for university students but has useful information for all.

The National Careers Service also has useful information on different sectors of employment in the UK on their Explore careers page.

The South East Strategic Partnership for Migration (SESPM)'s HK BN(O) welcome hub has pages on how to convert your professional qualifications from those in HK to the UK.


Financial and cost of living support

Visit our Financial support pages to find out if you are eligible for any of the different types of financial support available and to also find advice on coping with the cost of living challenges. To find out how to apply to have your NRPF condition lifted, please see Financial support for Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) (PDF). This document was produced by Citizens Advice in North and West Kent (CANWAK) and has been published with their permission.

Food Banks

Food Banks offer emergency food supplies to people in crisis. To find out how to get help from a Food Bank and to find your nearest Food Bank, please see Find a food bank on Trussell Trust website

Charities offering support to Hongkongers

A list of current Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations funded by the UK government to support HK BN(O)s can be found on the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Welcome Programme: Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Year 3 (2023/2024) grant schemes (GOV.UK) page.


Files available to download

Subscribe to our newsletters for latest news and events.