A Thai woman who is married to a British man claims she has been turned down for a UK visa to live with her husband because she gave birth to their baby without paying the NHS surcharge.
Duangchai Chaisun – known as Zia – married Jason Middlemiss a month before giving birth to their daughter Maisie at Warrington Hospital in Cheshire. She was in the UK on a marriage visa and returned to Thailand to apply for a settlement visa.
Her application was rejected by the authorities due to the outstanding bill.
Mrs Middlemiss told the Daily Mail: “I was shocked because I did not know we had to pay money to the hospital. I miss Jason every day and I wish I was at home with him in Warrington.”
The letter that accompanied the rejection said that as a visitor to the UK, Mrs Middlemiss was not entitled to free NHS treatment.
Mr Middlemiss said that the couple were shocked by the rejection and that “at no point” were they told that they would have to pay for the maternity services. He said he had no idea how much they would be billed.
“No one had ever even mentioned payment to us so we were completely unaware,” said Mr Middlemiss.
“It's ridiculous - we never tried to hide the fact that she was on a visa so it's not like we were lying to them.”
He has now set up an online fundraising page to help the family meet the cost of the maternity bill, which he believes could run into thousands of pounds. He said that the family was being made to suffer due to an error that was not their fault.
The Home Office said that each immigration case was dealt with on its individual merits.