30 July 2009
New Zealand visa slowed after immigration tells man to 'see an astrologist'
An elderly Indian man trying to emigrate to New Zealand had a difficult problem when New Zealand immigration officials told him he had to consult an astrologist about his medical condition.
The man from Baroda, Gujarat, trying to emigrate to New Zealand on a family visa to join his daughter and son-in-law in Hawke's Bay, was diagnosed with atrophic testes in an immigration medical test in India in October 2007.
Last month Immigration New Zealand wrote to him saying its medical assessor had requested a test before it could proceed with his visa application.
"Astrologist to review and comment on significance of this and whether or not surgery is required," the letter said.
The elderly man made two costly trips to two separate doctors in India but was turned away both times after being told there was something wrong with the letter.
As the June 17 letter requested the information from the astrologist by July 17, the daughter and son-in-law took the letter to Hastings GP Paddy Twigg to interpret the letter for them.
"They didn't really believe what they were reading," Dr Twigg said.
Dr Twigg told them the most likely explanation was that "astrologist" was a typing error and should read "urologist" instead.
Immigration NZ confirmed the error and dispatched a new letter with the word "urologist" instead of "astrologist", and gave a new deadline of July 26.
The elderly man has since seen a urologist and the family is waiting to see the medical report, his son-in-law said.
The Department of Labour said Immigration NZ's Shanghai office handled the case and the error was made by the visa officer in transcribing the medical assessor's report.
The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in New Zealand visas and immigration.