The New Zealand chef who faced deportation earlier this summer for being "too fat" has received a reprieve, and was granted a work visa this week. Chef Albert Buitenhuis, a South African national, and his wife, Marthie, were given 23-month work visas after a four-month battle with officials. The New Zealand government initially rejected Buitenhuis's visa renewal because the chef — who weighs 130 kilos (or 287 pounds) — did not meet "an acceptable standard of health," despite losing nearly 70 pounds in the six years he'd lived in the country.
An Associate Immigration Minister says today that Buitenhuis's application was declined due to a pre-existing knee condition, not his weight, and that the chef will not be eligible for public-funded health care should he need a knee replacement. While waiting for the decision, Buitenhuis has been unable to work sans-visa, and he tells the Fairfax NZ News that "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."