Usually obtaining a New Zealand WHV is quite easy and fast for a French person. In my case, this process had lot more hurdles.
Thursday, November 19th 2015
My day at work is over. I can’t wait to go back home and apply for my Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand. I am all excited. I go directly on the New Zealand immigration website and I create a account in order to able to apply. 10 minutes later, I had completed the application form and my application is sent. If everything goes well I will have an answer in a few days. My judicial record is empty, I don’t have any immigration issues in the past and I didn’t travel into a hazardous country recently. So why should I worry ? In this form there is a lot of Yes/No questions and one of them is « do you have an mental or motor disability ? ». A wheelchair will not go unnoticed at the border so I answered « yes ». I explained that I have a motor disability which imply walking with a cane for short walks and using a wheelchair for longer distances. I also informed them that I already own all of these and that I don’t need help in my daily life. At that time, I understood that immigration just wanted to know whether or not I am independent, if I can work and if my disability will cause some medical costs in New Zealand.
Tuesday, November 24th 2015
I received a mail from the New Zealand immigration. I have to pass a general medical exam and also a blood analysis and a lung X-ray. Yes, a lung X-ray! What is does it have to do with my disability which affects my legs? Actually as soon as you have to pass a general medical exam you automatically have to go through all of the health exams. That is why I have to pass a lungs X-ray even if I didn’t travel in a country where tuberculosis is an issue. That is also why I need to undergo a blood analysis: to check if I don’t have any hepatitis or any other transmissible disease. They give me two weeks to do it and send the results back. Moreover, it has to be done with a doctor certified by New Zealand immigration. I didn’t think twice, I immediately called the medical office in Paris and I got an appointment for the next Friday.
Friday, Novembre 27th 2015
Here I am in Paris for a day which I won’t forget. This day fill me with bitterness and disgust. Hers’s why. The general practitioner who received me was very rude. As she didn’t know the disease (I’m not blaming her for this), I explained everything to her and I gave her my medical record. I also explained to her my daily life. At that moment I lived in Rennes with my partner but I worked in Nantes in a full time position, so I chooses to rent another flat there. Everyday, I went to work on my own. I am independent in my personal as well as in my professional lives. The general practitioner, in returns, just asked me if I am able to pee and wash myself without help… What did she didn’t understand in « I am working in a full time position without adjustments and I don’t need assistant at work or at home » ?! I want to cry and yell at her. I never felt as humiliated. I tried to explained to her a second time, in a different way. She is not listening to me. She is asking me to translate my medical record by a certified body to send it to immigration. Of course, I need to do that before the end of the two weeks deadline.
So I leave the general pratictioner’s office and I go to the analysis laboratory and the X-ray office. Finally, this marathon is over. But I’m still filled with doubt. Things to know if you need to go through all of this: this medical exams are expensive and are not covered by the social security system because these exams are part of the application visa process.
The following day I get in touch with the immigration officer in charge of my case. I explain to her what is the situation. She agrees to give me 5 extra days. I translated my medical record and passed it to the general practitioner’s office in Paris. They still have 6 days to give it to the immigration. If not, my application will be denied. 3 days pass by and my medical case is still not send to New Zealand immigration. I reach to the office in Paris, by phone, to explain but they just don’t care about the deadline. Eventually, after I harassed them by sending email and calling them everyday, they send my case to the immigration officer half a day before the end of the term. Now, I just have to wait. Days and weeks go by… Still no news. Meanwhile, my doubts keep growing inside me.
Thursday, January 21st 2016
I received an email. Stage fright. Do I have my visa? Unfortunately, because of my health condition my visa is about to be denied. The immigration’s doctors think that I can’t work. I am allowed to bring a new medical record to convince them that they are wrong. Of course, I need to do that within the next 15 days. I phone my usual doctor who agree to receive me in a hurry and write a new record in which she goes in details about what can I or cannot do. She insists on my work capability, my professional and personal self-sufficiency. She highlights that I don’t need specifics medical cares and that I am able to do my physiotherapy exercises by my own as I use to do them for more than 15 years. The check-up is sent, I just have to wait now.
Tuesday, February 23rd 2016
The respond arrived. My heart beats so fast. Keep going! I need to open this mail. I got my visa! I can leave on a WHV! I can’t believe it. I read the email a second time. Yes, this is it. I am overwhelm by emotions. What a relief! What a joy! It was worth it ! I won this battle. Now I just have to buy some flights tickets.