Buitenhuis is now facing deportation after officials denied his request to renew his work visa. He and his wife claim to have had no previous trouble with their annual visa renewals.
New Zealand’s immigration ministry maintains that, at more than 280 pounds, Buitenhuis’s weight puts him at added risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Despite reports from Buitenhuis’s physician that he’s on track to correct a number of his health problems, the ministry remains concerned that weight-related issues will translate into hefty future costs. New Zealand claims that it is simply exercising its policy to hold immigrants to standards that minimize their burdens on the country’s health services. This year’s assessments included flagging and reviewing every immigrant with a body mass index greater than 35 (medically defined as “severely obese”), meaning Buitenhuis no longer meets those standards.
Read more: ObesityPost