A YOUNG businessman and life-long holder of a British national overseas passport has won his appeal to remain in Scotland.

The Home Office had told Johnny Chiu – who was born in Hong Kong when it was still a British colony – that he had been out of the country for too long over the past decade.

His absences included two spells caused by family bereavements, but he was told his time away “could have been better managed” to allow him to meet the rules.

These state that he is only allowed be out of the UK for 540 days in a 10-year period.

The 26-year-old has lived here for most of his life, went to boarding school here and later attended university in Edinburgh, graduating with an economics degree in 2016.

He told The Sunday National yesterday: “I’m very happy – it’s the best news I’ve had this year and thanks so much for your help. My family are happy as well, especially with what’s going on in Hong Kong at the moment. They don’t think it’s the best place to live and they’re happy that I’m here where I belong.”

Chiu has been granted a settlement visa, which is valid for 30 months and will have to go through the application process again when that expires.

“The only way I could have got indefinite leave to remain was for the Home Office to approve it directly, but the judge gave me a settlement visa for two-and-a-half years, which from my understanding gives me pretty much the same rights,” he said.

“I’ll have to reapply once the two-and-a-half years is up and hopefully the Home Office will approve it.”

Immigration lawyer Usman Aslam, from the Glasgow legal group McGlashan MacKay, said the case highlighted the difficulties British National (Overseas) Citizens. “We are delighted to have had a successful outcome for Johnny,” he said.

“This is someone who has been in Scotland since he was a child. Scotland is his home. He is a skilled individual who has contributed to Scotland, and my understanding is that the Tory Government want skilled workers.

“Yet this is someone who faced being removed to Hong Kong, which itself is a hostile place at the moment.

“British National (Overseas) Citizens do not have enough rights and hopefully cases like these or the previous ones we have had similar success in will allow for some change in policy.

“We are so pleased to have persevered here.”

Chiu’s MP, Labour’s Ian Murray, who raised his case with the Home Secretary, told The Sunday National: “This is great news for Johnny and his family. Common sense has prevailed, but it is shocking that applicants have to go to appeal for these types of cases when the Home Office could have the discretion to grant them given the circumstances.”

The way has now been cleared for Chiu and his girlfriend to put some of their business ideas into practice, including a company selling the latest high-tech pet supplies and opening a feline café in Edinburgh.

“We’ve already registered a pet supply company and we’re planning to open a cat café in Edinburgh,” said Chiu. “We’re hoping to bring some technology and different things from the Asian market to Edinburgh.

“It’s is all about convenience and easy living with pets, and we’re hoping to innovate some new products.

The café was my girlfriend’s idea, and we’ve registered a company ... the technology will help owners to look after their pets more conveniently, with feeding machines and automated toilets and things like that.”