Albert Buitenhuis is a chef who’s lived in Christchurch, South Africa for six years. Now, he may be forced to leave for being too fat for the country to affordably fund his medical care.
Buitenhuis weighs 285 lbs., 65 pounds less than when he first moved to the country, but may be deported for not maintaining "an acceptable standard of health,” according to BBC. When the chef reapplied for his work visa in May, he was told it was declined because he weighed too much.
"We applied year after year and there were no issues," his wife, Marthie, said. "They never mentioned Albert's weight or his health once and he was a lot heavier then. The irony is that at the moment he weighs less than when we first arrived in New Zealand and also less than in his first medical, which was accepted by [immigration authorities]."
BBC reported, “An immigration spokesman said Mr Buitenhuis's application had been rejected because his obesity put him at ‘significant risk’ of complications including diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
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"It is important that all migrants have an acceptable standard of health to minimise costs and demands on New Zealand's health services," he said.
According to The Huffingon Post, “The New Zealand health care system differs greatly from United States's system. In New Zealand residents, including those like Buitenhuis who live in the country with work permits, receive many health care services for free, including prescriptions and treatments at public hospitals. A U.S. resident spends 2.7 times more money on health care than people living in New Zealand, according to country comparison website IfItWereMyHome.com”