A man from South Africa, a chef, who's been living and working in New Zealand six years, has had his visa turned down because he is overweight. His wife notes that it was a big surprise as he's actually lost weight since moving there.
At 286 pounds (130 kg) Albert Buitenhuis, who lives in Christchurch, is classified as obese and an immigration spokesperson said his visa, which he has re-applied for successfully each year since 2007, was turned down recently because he has "significant risk" of illnesses, including heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.
"It is important that all migrants have an acceptable standard of health to minimize costs and demands on New Zealand's health services," the spokesperson said.
His wife, Marthie, says her husband applied "year after year and there were no issues". It is particularly surprising, Marthie said, given her husband has lost some 55 pounds (30 kg) since moving moving to New Zealand. The couple have appealed the ruling, citing his weight loss as a reason to allow them to stay.
It is unclear when the ruling on their appeal will come down, but should they lose they will have to return to their native country. New Zealand has one of the higher rates of obesity in the world.