The Guardian: DAUK intervenes in case of NHS doctor faces deportation over visa application error

Coverage by Denis Campbell:

An NHS doctor who has lived most of her life in Britain is due to be deported and stopped from becoming a GP after making a small error in her application for a new work visa.

Dr Mu-Chun Chiang said the Home Office’s decision to remove her had left her “shocked and devastated”.

“They seem very keen to get rid of me. To have someone just kick you out is a pretty nasty feeling. I want to stay and train as a GP. I really enjoy working as a doctor and in the NHS.”

The Home Office based its decision to remove Chiang on her making a minor mistake in the paperwork she submitted with her application. Those seeking a tier two visa must be able to prove they have held at least £945 in their bank account for 90 consecutive days up until a month before they submit their application.

But while Chiang had enough money in her savings account, she submitted statements relating to her current account, the balance of which dipped below £945 for some of the 90-day period.

The Home Office initially refused to consider the evidence about her savings account when she later submitted statements and explained her mistake, because she had not included them in her original application.

Taiwan-born Chiang, a 27-year-old trainee GP in Liverpool, has been given 14 days to leave the UK, despite working and being educated in England and Scotland for 18 years.

She is at risk of expulsion despite the fact that Health Education England, the NHS’s medical training agency, is sponsoring her and paying for the three years of her training to become a family doctor.

The Home Office has refused to grant Chiang a tier two visa from now until 2022 to cover the duration of her GP training.

It has banned her from working, meaning she has had to stop doing shifts in a Liverpool hospital as one of the first “rotations” through different medical specialities as part of her training to be a GP.

Critics claim the Home Office’s treatment of Chiang is inhumane and shortsighted, given that the NHS in England is experiencing a serious and worsening shortage of GPs. It is also alleged that her deportation shows the government’s “hostile environment” approach to immigration has continued, even though Theresa May – its architect – has left office.

Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, the Chair of the campaign group The Doctors’ Association UK, criticised the handling of Chiang’s case as “ludicrous and nonsensical”. She added: “Telling a young doctor to leave the country within 10 days or else face prosecution over a technicality is inhumane and shows a flagrant disregard for Dr Chiang’s contribution to society and the NHS.”