New parents 'trapped' in India with their newborns because of Passport Office chaos

New parents

New parents "trapped" in India with their newborns because of Passport Office chaos

First published in News
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The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

NEW parents — who travelled to India to pick up their surrogate twins — have been left stranded because of the chaos at the UK Passport Office.

Kiran and Bina Salvi, from Bolton, arrived in the Anand district of Gurjarat in March to become surrogate parents of twins Jai and Leela.

The baby boy and girl were born on March 3.

Mr and Mrs Salvi have been desperately trying for children for the last 12 years.

As their last option they used a surrogacy clinic in India after it was featured in a TV documentary.

The babies were born prematurely and weighed just one kilogramme each — just more than 2lbs each.

Both Jai and Leela are now doing well and have been awarded UK citizenship — but processing problems at the UK passport office have left the family in limbo — with no idea about when they will make it home.

The Salvis have been living in a hotel room in India, unable to venture out with their newborns because of the sweltering 45 degree temperatures.

They are now running out of money to live on and are now looking for a property to rent before the start of India’s extreme rainy season.

Dad Kiran Salvi, aged 44, who is an IT specialist, said after being told everything was fine with the children’s passport applications in April, they have had no updates on their status and believe they could be stuck in India until August.

He added: “Our full applications, complete with birth certificates, marriage certificates, driving licenses and everything they could possibly need were sent in and we were told on April 30 by the High Commission in New Delhi that it was all correct and was being sent to be processed in Liverpool.

“We have not had any information since then and after being told initially that these applications would take a maximum of eight weeks to process, the website now says that figure has been extended to 16 weeks.”

“If that is the case, we could be here until August and then we will miss our flights, which were booked under the initial guidelines and my wife’s medical visa will expire, we are also running out of money because I am not being paid anymore and we could miss our mortgage payments. The surrogacy process has been expensive and used up all of our savings.”

Earlier this week, Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that up to 30,000 passport applications have been hit by delays and hundreds of extra staff have been drafted in with new offices set-up in Liverpool to help tackle the backlog.

Mr Salvi said the backlog is why his family are stuck with no information about their fate.

He added: “That is why we are not getting any feedback, I think it is delaying tactics because they won’t admit they need help — to not tell us anything is a disgrace, this is not how British people should be treated.”

The Salvis are of Indian descent and chose to use a surrogate clinic in the country for that reason and because they speak the local dialect.

They researched the clinic they used extensively to ensure it was of high ethical standards and somewhere where surrogate mothers are well treated.

Mr Salvi said his wife Bina, an 38-year-old accountant, is struggling with the conditions she has been forced to live in with her new babies.

He added: “Of course she is emotional — she wants to be in her own home with her new children, beginning a life — but instead she is stuck in a hotel room feeling distressed, it has been extremely tough.

The Home Office has stated that emergency travel documents for children will be issued on June 16, but Mr Salvi said he is concerned as to whether they will be accepted at Indian airports, believing that emergency passports are the only option.

The Salvis predicament was raised by Bolton West MP Julie Hilling in the House of Commons.

She was told by the minister for security and immigration, James Brokenshire, that his staff would look into the case.

Ms Hilling said: “These wonderful people, who have waited for a very long time to be parents, should be fulfilling their dreams but have been left in a horrible situation and an unsuitable environment for their new born babies.

“This has been caused by the debacle in the passport office and I will do everything I can to help get them and their babies back to Bolton.”

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