Immigration blunder causes confusion
Last updated 19:22 30/07/2009

An elderly Indian trying to emigrate to New Zealand was perplexed when immigration officials told him he had to consult an astrologist about his medical condition.

New Zealand Doctor newspaper reported this week that the man from Baroda, Gujarat, wanting 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 further 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 long and costly trips to separate doctors in India but was turned away both times after being told there was "something wrong with the letter", said his son-in-law, who wished to remain anonymous.

Worried because the June 17 letter requested the information from the astrologist by July 17, the couple took the letter to Hastings GP Paddy Twigg.

"They asked me to interpret the letter for them," Dr Twigg told NZ Doctor.

"They didn't really believe what they were reading."

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 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.


From here.