Wife stranded in China after visa blunder

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A DISTRAUGHT husband is anxiously awaiting the safe return of his wife after she was left stranded in China.

Grace Ashmore, who lives with husband Paul, in St Chads Avenue, North End, Portsmouth, flew back to China, where she was born, because her mum Mei Jia Cheng, 84, needed surgery on a stomach tumour.

But when Mrs Ashmore, 46, tried to return to the UK she realised she had left an old passport containing her UK permanent residence card at home.

Chinese immigration officials will not let her return until they’ve seen proof of her UK residency.

Mrs Ashmore, who went to China on September 6, broke the news to her husband as she tried to leave China from Shanghai Airport 12 days later.

Mr Ashmore, 44, then arranged through Royal Mail service Parcelforce Worldwide to have the visa in the passport posted to her.

But delivery stalled when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) held it for inspection as part of its policy regarding passports leaving the country. Now Mr Ashmore has asked for it to be sent back so he can try finding a quicker solution. He said: ‘I’ve been absolutely distraught and felt physically sick since this has all happened. I know Grace is safe because she is with her family and I’ve been able to ring her three times a day.

‘The authorities have been passing me around like a ball. This is the longest we’ve ever been apart.’

Mrs Ashmore is staying with her mum, who recently came out of hospital, and dad Qing Zhang, 84, at their home in Anji, outside Shanghai, until the matter is resolved. Speaking to The News during a phone call to her husband yesterday, Mrs Ashmore said: ‘Forgetting my visa was an honest mistake. I feel helpless because there’s nothing I can do. I just want to go home.’

HMRC said it was looking at the case but would not comment further.