UK unveils citizenship offer for Hongkongers

Some residents of Hong Kong will soon be able to apply for UK citizenship -- starting January of next year.

British Interior Minister Priti Patel announced Wednesday those with British National Overseas visas can apply--and they will not need a job to enter the UK.

The BNO passports were created for Hong Kong residents when Britain handed the territory back to China 23 years ago.

Now -- London's decision could see up to 3 million Hongkongers relocate to the UK.

It comes after China imposed a sweeping national security law on the former British colony.

29-year-old Hong Kong resident Jay Lau says he is planning to take up the offer.

"The British prime minister has taken a big step this time, he provided a very practical benefit for Hong Kong people. I feel very thankful for that, I'm very thankful. Because in recent years, what happened in our society makes me feel that the Hong Kong government won't think for Hong Kong people anymore."

Britain says China's security law breaches the terms of the Hong Kong handover treaty, while China accuses Britain of interfering in its internal affairs.

But some Hong Kong residents have still expressed skepticism about the UK's citizenship offer.

35-year-old Iris Hung says -- it remains unclear whether it will be easy for Hongkongers to resettle in Britain.

"Different people have different views on this. Immigrating to the UK is a good option but after immigration, I wonder if the government would have plans for them on housing, jobs, or even to secure their ability to make a living there. I wonder if it will be easy for them to live there."

The Chinese embassy in London condemned the UK citizenship offer Thursday -- calling it a violation of international law.

The embassy also said that Britain had made that decision despite Beijing's opposition-- and that China would respond strongly if it was not reversed.