Immigration officials said South African chef Albert Buitenhuis, who weighs 130kg, did not have “an acceptable standard of health”.
He now faces expulsion despite shedding 30kg since he moved to the city of Christchurch six years ago.
Mr Buitenhuis and his wife, Marthie, moved from South Africa to Christchurch in 2007. At the time, the chef weighed 160kg and never had any issues with the immigration dept. But in early May, the couple was told their work visas had been declined because of Mr Buitenhuis’s weight.
The couple has appealed to New Zealand’s immigration minister, citing the chef’s recent weight loss.
An immigration spokesman said:
“It is important that all migrants have an acceptable standard of health to minimise costs and demands on New Zealand’s health services.”