Some, like former IT company boss Tony, are considering a career change. Earlier this year, he got a job as an exam invigilator, but lost it when he failed to deliver a CNCC.
Tony, 55, who has asked not to use his full name, does not want Hong Kong authorities to know he is in Britain, in part because he still has family and possessions in Hong Kong.
Like many Hong Kongers, he is particularly worried about the money he has tied up in the territory’s pension scheme, which he will only be able to access at age 65.
“It has become a problem,” he said, adding that his wife would also need a CNCC to resume her nursing career.
“I don’t have a criminal record, but we don’t want any contact with the Hong Kong police. My feeling is that the Hong Kong government is not friendly towards people moving overseas.
Tony now works in a warehouse while training to become a mortgage consultant, but fears his new career choice will be sabotaged by the same problem.
Hong Kongers said concerns about CNCCs came up frequently on social media forums for education and health professionals traveling to Britain, and urged the government and employers to recognize that there are had a problem.
The UK Home Office did not directly address these concerns, but said that with “no checks available, we would expect employers to get as much information as possible in the form of references before deciding to make a job offer.
Until recently, the UK Foreign Office or its consulate in Hong Kong could facilitate requests for police background checks, but they stopped doing so in June. The Foreign Office said it was to bring the policy into line with consular services elsewhere, but some Hong Kongers believe authorities in the territory have pressured it to stop.
Hong Kong police told Context they could still provide a records check “in exceptional circumstances” to meet the legal or administrative requirements of another country.
Some nurses have successfully applied for checks backed by letters from Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). But other Hong Kongers were sent circling in an attempt to get them.
They include former speech therapist Betty, 33, who needs them for her new NHS job. After weeks of emails, she sent a request to the police with a letter from her employer, but still hasn’t received a response.
“I’m afraid they won’t give me a certificate because they’re angry with Britain and don’t want professionals moving to the UK,” said Betty, who asked to use a pseudonym.
“But if I don’t get it, I will lose my job.”
This story is published with permission from the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit https://www.context.news/.