300,000 people hold British National (Overseas) passports - a status UK created for Hong Kongers after China regained control in 1997.

(This status does *not* give a right to live in UK.) https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/634155/response/1523562/attach/2/FOICR%2057241%20Luke%20Lo%20final%20response.pdf
UK Parliament can convert British National (Overseas) status into British Citizen status - giving right to live in UK.

This would give these people the confidence to *stay* in HK (as almost all the Canadian HKers have).
UK has previously given British Citizenship to people with British Dependent Territory Citizenship (eg Gibraltar, Falklands). Maybe the trailed plan is similar for HK BN(O)S >
If UK *doesn’t* convert BN(O)s into BCs, then BN(O)s can still leave HK for UK - but then they may have to claim asylum to stay. And granting asylum to BN(O)s m could be an international political headache for UK Gov.
Worse (from POV of the immigration control obsessives who make policy) would be that granting asylum to BN(O)s would make it hard to justify refusing asylum to *other* Hong Kongers.

“Oh no but 7 million people could come!!” (They won’t).
Viewed this way, giving BN(O)s the automatic right to live in UK:
- reduces risk of them coming
- maintains space to refuse asylum to HKers
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