NHS doctor threatened with deportation because bank balance fell below £945

2 October 2019, 12:19

Dr Mu-Chun Chiang has been threatened with deportation after her bank balance fell below £945
Dr Mu-Chun Chiang has been threatened with deportation after her bank balance fell below £945. Picture: Liverpool Echo

By Kate Buck

An NHS doctor who moved to the UK when she was 14 has been ordered to leave because her bank balance fell below £945.

Mu-Chun Chiang, 27, lived in Glasgow with her parents from 1997 to 2002 before returning to her native Taiwain.

She moved back to the UK in 2006, to qualify as a doctor and and now works in Liverpool's Aintree University Hospital.

But Dr Chiang was threatened with deportation or risk being jailed over what she called a "a nonsensical administrative issue".

After Dr Chiang's student visa expired in June, her application for a new working visa was rejected in August due to a Home Office rule which states an applicant's bank balance cannot drop below £945 in the 90 days beforehand.

Dr Chiang said she had more than that amount saved and the bank account she used for the application had the correct money by the end of each month, but had dropped below for a few days in one of them.

She appealed against the failure by sending details of a separate savings account to show she always had the money required, but this was declined as it was not provided with the initial application.

The letter from the Home Office telling Dr Chiang she must leave the UK
The letter from the Home Office telling Dr Chiang she must leave the UK. Picture: PA

Dr Chiang then received a letter on Friday from the Home Office telling her the application was unsuccessful, and that she "must leave the UK now" or she would "be liable to be detained and removed".

She said: "When I got the letter I was shocked, all these things were going on in my head.

"I was worried because we were already understaffed on our ward and leaving all my friends would be really heartbreaking."

To add insult to injury, Dr Chiang was told she is not allowed to work in the hospital or access benefits.

Her lead employer also called her on Tuesday to tell her that because the letter is dated to September 19 there is a possibility she will not get paid for the shifts she has done since then.

Campaigners have said the Home Office's ruling showed the UK's immigration laws are "dysfunctional, complicated and inhumane."

Satbir Singh, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said: "At a time when our NHS is under immense strain and crying out for more doctors, kicking out a young doctor trained to work in the NHS just defies basic common sense.

Dr Chiang works at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool
Dr Chiang works at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool. Picture: PA

"That someone can be threatened with detention and removal because of a small technical mistake in a visa application highlights the urgent need for the system to be rebuilt from ground up so that people who move here are treated fairly and with humanity.

"After receiving the letter, Dr Chiang's friend Mina Mesri set up a petition calling for her to be allowed to stay in the UK, which has received over 25,000 signatures in a matter of days.

Her friend also encouraged her to contact a solicitor, and she has spoken with two lawyers this week.

"I'm quite lucky as I've got a lot of people supporting me," said Dr Chiang.

"I know from other people that there has been cases where people have just packed up and gone, because they didn't know what else to do."

Since her story has been reported on, Dr Chiang she said she was contacted by the immigration authority who told her they would like to review the evidence of her case again.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: "We are reconsidering Ms Chiang's application now that further evidence has been provided."