By Sandra Birungi
A man is facing deportation for being too fat.
The man of South African origin is facing deportation from New Zealand for being too fat. A chef, Albert Buitenhuis weighs 130kgs wanted to renew his visa application but was rejected on grounds he did not have ‘an acceptable standard of health.” He was facing deportation but has received a 23-month reprieve.
Despite the reprieve, he will not be allowed any publicly-funded healthcare according to a government official. Since he moved into the country six years ago, he has since shed 30kg; he stays in the city of Christchurch.
Associate Immigration Minister Nikki Kaye said the main reason Mr Buitenhuis’s application had been declined was due to the osteoarthritis in his knee but later granted him and his wife, Marthie, visa extensions but “[has] to meet any health costs himself”. Writing about the situation, Buitenhuis wrote on his blog, The Too Fat Chef saying, “Of course, we are pleased and relieved that we are now able to stay. But at the same time we would rather rewind so that none of this took place,” he said in an interview with Fairfax media. “We are really starting from scratch again. We have lost thousands of dollars fighting this and we don’t know where we will live because our home is gone. I am glad the fight is over but I am still afraid of what lies ahead.”
Now, Mr. Buitenhuis who is 1.78m tall, said he aims to lose another 25kg over the next few months.
The immigration department has said it is important that “all migrants have an acceptable standard of health to minimise costs and demands on New Zealand’s health services”.