Two weeks ago the story broke about a mathematics professor who was denied residency in New Zealand because his stepson has autism.
I know I am a bit late to the party on this issue but at the end of the day this is part of an on-going struggle for acceptance from anyone in this country with any kind of difference.
According to the NZ Herald, Immigration New Zealand said, “We have declined your application for residence because Peter does not meet the health requirements to be granted residence in New Zealand and is not eligible for a medical waiver.”
You can’t get any more blatant than that. While it makes it even more shocking that Professor Dimitri Leemans is an academic, at the end of the day it shouldn’t really matter. Anyone who wants to make New Zealand their home and make a valuable contribution, which Mr Leemans was clearly doing, should be allowed to do so.
Mr Leeman’s response was absolutely on point: “It is already hard to have a disabled child but it is even harder when you live abroad because you don’t have the family to support you and then it is even harder when you see you are not welcome with your child in the country where you live.”
Being a migrant is difficult. It’s not done unless you genuinely feel the need to leave everything you know in hope for something better. But we did the opposite of make things better, which is heartbreaking.