A British national evacuated from Libya has been told he must pay over a thousand pounds for the cost of his wife’s childbirth. Jamal Teer has dual nationality but his wife did not have a visa. They were evacuated by the British Government in February, but when she went into labour he was told they would have to pay.
Jamal Teer fled Libya in February as part of the British evacuation. He had been working there when fighting broke out between Colonel Gaddafi’s regime and rebel forces.
He left Libya with his heavily pregnant wife, Mayrouz.
He said: “Considering that my wife was seven and a half months pregnant, I started to think about scenarios and if it was going to be possible to get to a hospital because at night-time we could not leave the house as it was quite dangerous.”
Mr Teer has dual nationality, but the problem lay with his wife Mayrouz who did not have a visa. The couple attempted to contact the British Embassy, but receiving no luck, they decided to head for the airport.
Jamal and Mayrouz arrived in the UK on February 24, where Mayrouz was granted a month’s visa with exceptional leave. Mr Teer then attempted to find a temporary job at a call centre, and applied for a spouse visa for his wife.
But, whilst their visa documents were being processed, Mayrouz went into labour and gave birth to their son Nabeel at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff on April 29.
The couple have since received an invoice of £1,225 for baby Nabeel’s delivery.
Mr Teer said: “It’s unbelievable and I’m really disappointed.”
“My son is British and he has the right to be born here and it’s not his fault that his mother is Libyan and we had to rush here from Libya.
“The British Government allowed Mayrouz into the country on exceptional terms and humanitarian grounds – we didn’t have a choice.”
He contacted Cardiff West Labour MP Kevin Brennan to ask for help, who raised the issue in Parliament on Wednesday with Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt.
Kevin Brennan said: “Is this any way to treat a family fleeing Gaddafi, and will the minister undertake to look into the matter with his ministerial colleagues here and in Wales?”
Mr Burt has promised that the Government will investigate the case.
“The case might be to do with regular UK status, and would therefore be hit by certain benefit regulations about being ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom,” he said.
“The decision might have more to do with that than anything else, but at this stage I would be very happy to look at the circumstances and see what can be done.”