Woman with lupus faces deportation after High Court bid fails
A Fijian woman who found out she had lupus while applying for a work visa, ended up in debt to the health board and faces deportation.
In a decision delivered at the High Court in Auckland Justice Patricia Courtney said she had declined Sanita Devi's application for Judicial Review of Immigration Minister Chester Burrow's decision not to intervene in her application for a work visa on humanitarian grounds.
"Mr Burrows was entitled to form his own view on the basis of all the information and a reasonable decision maker could clearly have refused to intervene," the judgement, released recently, said.
Devi, a citizen of Fiji, moved to New Zealand in 2007 to join her husband, who started work as a senior cabling technician two years after they got married.
The court heard that her husband would remain in New Zealand.
"He now has permanent residency in New Zealand," Courtney said.
"Ms Devi and her husband have been married since 2005 and there is no suggestion that their relationship is not completely genuine."
Devi discovered she had lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease, after a checkup for her work visa application revealed a large amount of fluid around her heart.
Treatment of the condition landed her $192,000 in debt to the Auckland District Health Board and Counties Manukau District Health boards.
She then needed a hip replacement after doctors prescribed large amounts of prednisone which unexpectedly caused her bones to degenerate.
Her work visa application was denied on the grounds that her illness "had already created a burden on the New Zealand health services and presented a continued risk of further costs".
Devi argued that she would be unable to pay off the debt if she was deported to Fiji, and that the condition had not affected her work.
The cost of treatment for lupus was said to total $500 per year but there was a high probability of much higher costs in future, a medical advisor advising an earlier Immigration tribunal decision found.