It’s been a while since I wrote a blog but spotted this it today’s Press newspaper.
I often get asked about medical issues affecting immigration applications – especially grey areas like obesity. While most immigration requirements are quite clear this is can be a very uncertain area.
This article is intended to help migrants prepare for success ;o).
Too fat to live here?
A medically obese South African man has been told he is too fat for New Zealand, despite losing 30 kilograms since he moved to Christchurch six years ago.Albert Buitenhuis and his wife, Marthie, are now facing deportation after their work visas were declined because of his 130kg weight.
Immigration authorities cited the demands his obesity could place on New Zealand health services.
When you are making immigration applications you will be asked for a medical for any visa which will take you over 12 months in New Zealand. This is to test if you have an acceptable standard of health.
What they’re actually looking at is any likely cost to New Zealand. If you are applying for residence this is classified as $41,000 over the next five years (A4.10.2).
The process is:
- Case officer
your application goes in to the department and is allocated out to a case officer. As they are not medically trained they send any medical issue to an external expert to be assessed
- Medical assessor
This expert checks the papers and makes a decision on how much you are likely to cost NZ. The important point is that they can only go by the papers provided as they will never meet you
The case then goes back to the case-officer who makes a decision on your application
If you do have a medical condition (or your children will need educational support at school due to a learning difficulty or condition) it is vital to:
- Provide as much documentary evidence as possible; and
- clearly quantify any cost
If you have not provided clear evidence about the costs of your condition the medical assessor has to make a judgement call on your long term prognosis – they will be looking at the next 5 years.
You do not want that because the medical assessor has limited information. Much better to give them reports from experts who have examined you to ensure the medical assessor has really good information. This also means you have a reasonable idea of your chances of success before you lodge the application which is vital.
This is an area where it can be a good idea to get a professional opinion, calling on previous case knowledge to give you a sound idea of whether you are likely to be successful.
Please take medical issues seriously. Any application submitted to the immigration department (whether entered by you or with professional help) that includes a medical issue (or even the possibility of one) should leave nothing to chance.
Careful research and preparation to ensure the medical assessor has everything they need to agree you have an acceptable standard of health is a minimum.
If you find through this research that you may not have an acceptable standard of health at least you will know the risk you are taking before you start out.