After seven years of living and working in New Zealand, Filipino woman FE Cynthia Dumlao has left the country with a broken heart.
Cynthia's latest application for a work visa was declined by Immigration New Zealand last month because of health problems.
She has left behind a husband and son to return to the Philippines to seek medical care.
Her son GC Angelo Dumlao said his mother was diagnosed with severe rheumatic mixed mitral valve disease with pulmonary hypertension and will need surgery on her heart soon.
"The procedure is not currently funded in the Philippines as a third world country and the surgery alone will cost from 1,000,000 pesos which is equivalent to NZ$35,000."
His mother flew back to Manila, in the Philippines, on Tuesday.
The heart issue was discovered after Cynthia underwent a medical assessment as part of her visa conditions, her son said.
In a letter sent to Cynthia on September 7, Immigration says her visa application had been declined because she did "not have an acceptable standard of health as required by immigration".
Immigration area manager Darren Calder said Cynthia's condition meant she was likely to impose significant costs and demands on New Zealand's health service.
"INZ assessed all the information provided by Mrs Dumlao as part of her application, but found there were no special circumstances that would warrant granting her a visa as an exception to immigration instructions."
No evidence was provided to indicate Cynthia would not have access to health care in the Philippines and it was noted that she has family support in her own country, Calder said.
Nothing would preclude Cynthia from applying again in the future for a visa if her circumstances changed, he said.
Angelo said his mother immigrated to New Zealand in 2010, two years after his father arrived in the country.
With her husband Gerald working on a dairy farm, Cynthia obtained a work visa because her partner was a worker.
She has worked in several roles, including as a caregiver, and had recently resigned from her job as a sling sorter for Craigpine Timber because of her health.
His father has been in the country for 10 years and had applied for residency under the Skilled Migrant Category, but was declined, he said.
His father was the only one left working for the family and his work visa was to expire in May There was no certainty he would be approved for a new one as he suffered from thrombocytopenia (a low blood platelet count), Angelo said.
Angelo started a Givealittle page to raise money for his mother's operation and his father had been selling the family belongings to go towards health expenses, he said.
His hope was that his mother could get the surgery she needed in the Philippines and return to New Zealand.
Angelo, who lived in Palmerston North with his partner, said it was tough on the family and his father was now living alone.
"We should be the ones taking care of her but it didn't happen."
Preston Russell Law partner Mike Mika said it was not uncommon for Immigration to decline work visas due to health problems.
Immigration's main negotiables were requirements for sound health and character, Mika said.
When applicants did not fulfil the health requirement then Immigration could be quite strict, he said.
"Even if they have been here for seven years, work visas are temporary visas."
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