New Zealand Cites Obesity In Denying Chef's Work Visa

Jul 27, 2013
Originally published on July 27, 2013 2:05 pm

Chef Albert Buitenhuis has been declared too fat to live in New Zealand, a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the developed world.

Immigration officials recently informed South African Buitenhuis that his work visa would not be renewed because, at 286 pounds, he falls short of what Wellington deems "an acceptable standard of health."

According to The Press in Christchurch, "Immigration authorities cited the demands his obesity could place on New Zealand health services."

At 5'10", Buitenhuis' body mass comes in at 40, which makes him medically obese. Adding irony to insult, he's actually shed more than 65 pounds since moving to New Zealand six years ago.

Buitenhuis' wife, Marthie, said their annual visa renewal has gone smoothly since 2007 until now.

She told The Press:

"'We applied for [them] year after year and there were no issues. They never mentioned Albert's weight or his health once and he was a lot heavier then.

'We've committed no crime and did nothing wrong other than my husband being a foodie.' "

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