Lose weight before you immigrate

To immigrate to most countries, you have to pass a medical exam. They want you to be in fairly goodNewzealand
health, so you’re not a burden on the system. New Zealand’s expectations are a little higher.

With years of experience as a submarine cable specialist behind him,
Richie Trezise was looking forward to emigrating from Britain and using
his skills to help New Zealand beat its brain drain. He had been
headhunted by one of the country’s biggest companies and was all set to
begin a new life with his wife, Rowan.

was a slight hitch, however. After Mr Trezise went to his GP for a
medical, immigration officials told him he did not meet New Zealand’s
health requirements because he was too fat. The 35-year-old Welshman
failed its body mass index (BMI) test, which measures the proportion of
body fat to a person’s height and weight. Mr Trezise’s BMI was 42,
classifying him as morbidly obese under immigration guidelines.

He was told he would have to slim before he was allowed in on an employer-backed skilled migrant visa.

"My doctor laughed at me. He said he’d never seen anything more
ridiculous in his whole life. He said not every overweight person is
unhealthy or unfit," said Mr Trezise, who plays rugby and used to be in
the Army. [Link]

It’s quite understandable, really. New Zealand is a small country. They don’t want immigrants taking up too much room.

Resident: "I can’t breathe. It’s so tight in here."

Friend: "Yeah, it’s been like that ever since they let that Treesize guy in."

Friend: "It’s Trezise, you idiot, not Treesize."

Rather than give up, he went on a crash diet, losing a substantial
amount of weight and shedding 5cm from his waistline. He went back,
passed the test and flew out in September to start a new job working to
upgrade a submarine cable for Telecom New Zealand. [Link]

Good for him. He must have really wanted to immigrate. I’ve heard people say that New Zealand is the most beautiful country in the world. It’s fairly easy to immigrate, as long as you have a college degree, some work experience, fluency in English, and a svelte figure.

Mr Trezise’s wife, who is also classified as overweight, is still at
home trying to shed pounds so that she meets the BMI requirements and
can join her husband in New Zealand.

Mr Trezise has promised her that if she is unable to lose enough
weight and pass the immigration test by Christmas, he will return to
Britain for good. But he pointed out that has private health care and
his employer has a gym membership scheme. "The idea was that we were
going to change our lifestyle totally and get outdoors and on mountain
bikes and all sorts," he said. [Link]

He’s in New Zealand, she’s in Britain, a loving couple separated by girth. It seems so unfair. Couldn’t they let her into the country temporarily? Couldn’t they make her a conditional immigrant?

"Dear Mrs. Trezise. Welcome to New Zealand. We’d like you to lose 50 pounds in three months, so you meet the required BMI. If you’re not successful, you can either return to your home country or apply for immigration to Australia. They have a lot more space there."

Photo by PhillipC

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Over the past few months I’ ve noticed a new trend. Coffee evidently isn’ t enough anymore because they’ ve come out with the“ bikini barista” stands. Yes, the name says it all. It’ s like Hooters without the wings and more caffeinated.

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