Pregnant student told to leave NZ for birth
By KERRY WILLIAMSON - The Dominion Post
Last updated 05:00 07/11/2009

A pregnant woman studying in New Zealand has been ordered to leave the country because she fails to meet health requirements despite medical insurance picking up all of her costs.

Virginie Breuzard will be forced to return to France in three weeks, have her baby in her home country, then return to Nelson to finish her studies.

She feels she is being discriminated against because she is not sick just pregnant. "I'm not sick, not at all. It's because I am pregnant that they are kicking me out."

Ms Breuzard, 28, came to New Zealand in September to complete an NZQA-registered aromatherapy course in Nelson, the only one of its kind available in the Asia-Pacific region, after a year of distance learning from Indonesia, where her husband ran a company.

She admits she was pregnant when she arrived in the country on a visitor's visa, but was unaware that it would be a problem. As part of her application to Immigration New Zealand, she sent a letter from her insurer and Nelson Hospital stating that her medical costs would be met.

Her school, Aromaflex, also wrote to Immigration telling them she needed to be in the country for six months to complete the course and sit an exam.

Seven weeks later, Immigration wrote telling her she had been refused a study visa because she did not meet health requirements and that she would need to leave the country to give birth. Ms Breuzard must leave by November 24, because doctors say she should not fly after that due to her pregnancy.

"I'm very angry," she said. "And because I've told the truth about being pregnant, they are kicking me out. They have told me, `You give birth somewhere else and then you come back.' It's discrimination."

The Immigration website states pregnant visitors to New Zealand "are not considered to have an acceptable standard of health as it is likely you will impose significant costs and demands on New Zealand's health services."

An Immigration spokesman said that whether a person had health insurance was irrelevant, and that the policy was in place to limit demand on hospitals.

"Aligned to this there have been regional shortages of antenatal care in New Zealand in recent years."

The Government moved to crack down on foreigners coming to New Zealand to have babies in 2003, after revelations that expectant mothers were coming here to get Kiwi citizenship for their children.

Babies born in New Zealand no longer have citizenship unless one of their parents is a Kiwi.

Even so, the number of babies born to non-resident women rose from 3248 to 3866 between 2005-06 and 2006-07.

Ms Breuzard said she did not want citizenship for her child. "I just want to finish my study. I'm just asking for six months."

From here.