Chef Too Fat: Albert Buitenhuis Told He's Too Obese To Stay In New Zealand

By iScienceTimes Staff on July 27, 2013 4:01 PM EDT

chef
A South African chef is too fat to stay in New Zealand, the government said. The immigration bureau there has declined to renew his visa. (Photo: Flickr: mattfour)

A South African chef in New Zealand has been told he's too fat to stay in the country.   

Even though chef Albert Buitenhuis, who moved to Christchurch with wife Marthie in 2007, has lost about 66 pounds since arriving in New Zealand, the forerly 350-pound chef has still got to leave. 

At a current 285 pounds, the 50-year-old chef is apparently too much of a health risk to remain in the country.

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"The irony is that at the moment he weighs less than he [did] when we first arrived in New Zealand," Marthie told Stuff.co.nz. 

The couple has previously been able to renew their New Zealand visas without the chef being told he's too fat to stay, but this year the government said that the chef didn't maintain "an acceptable standard of health."

A spokesman for Immigration New Zealand said that obesity puts Buitenhuis at risk of contracting diabetes, heart disease, sleep apenea and other conditions. An issue with Buitenhuis's knee joint alone could cost $20,000.

"It is important that all migrants have an acceptable standard of health to minimise costs and demands on New Zealand's health services," the spokesman said.

In New Zealand, an alert is triggered in immigration cases where the applicants body mass index is higher than 35. Buitenhuis's BMI is over 40.

"Unless it is in the extreme, obesity will not in itself cause an applicant to fail health screening requirements, but INZ's medical assessors have to consider to what extent there might be indications of future high-cost and high-need demand for health services," said the  spokesman.

The chef and his wife have made an appeal to Nikk Kaye, the New Zealand Associate Minister of Immigration.

New Zealand has one of the highest obesity rates in the world. About 27 percent of the population is considered obese.

READ MORE:

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