A teenager from Ireland who was denied a visa into New Zealand because she has Down Syndrome has lost her final appeal.
Bumikka Suhinthan, 15, from Dublin, and her family had been planning a dream move to the country after her mother Nilani was headhunted for a $96,000 a year IT consultancy job there last year.
However, the teen was told she could not enter the country because her “health was not of an acceptable standard” and would impose excessive costs, according to the Daily Mail.
Her parents and two older sisters all received visas but Bumikka's rejection has shattered their dream move.
Mrs. Suhinthan had already moved to New Zealand in September to prepare for the family's emigration but has now abandoned those plans and returned to Dublin.
The family has been living in Ireland’s capital since 2015 and previously lived in England for 25 years.
Despite offering to pay for the extra support Bumikka would need in school, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) ruled she would be too great a burden.
Mrs. Suhinthan said she was told Bumikka would be eligible for a temporary visitor visa in December, so the family could spend Christmas Day in New Zealand.
But despite booking flights, they were stopped from boarding their connecting flight in Malaysia because Bumikka wasn't considered a genuine visitor.
“It's complete discrimination. I've always told her she isn't any different but this tears it up,” she said.
“She doesn't completely understand why we're not going to New Zealand.”
“They kept telling me she would cost them money to send her to a special school. My tax bill in one month would cover the school fees for the entire year."
“It just doesn't make any sense other than it being discriminatory. Bumikka has a moderate disability, but she can talk, walk and dress herself. She only needs supervision and extra help in the classroom."
“So I don't understand why they would reject her temporary visa other than being discriminatory.”
“We were planning a new life over there. Instead we were just thrown in limbo.”
“We had to spend Christmas Day in an apartment and had to have terrible Malaysian food instead of a Christmas dinner.”
Despite her mother's offer to pay the $5,300 needed every year, the country told her the scheme is a "finite resource" and can't be spared for an international citizen.
Mrs. Suhinthan said she had been "completely let down."
A spokesman for New Zealand Immigration confirmed the visa had been denied on health grounds.
They said: '"While we sympathize with the family's situation, all non-New Zealanders coming to New Zealand must have an acceptable standard of health so as not to impose undue costs or demands on New Zealand's public health system."
"In Bumikka's case, the medical assessor determined that the granting of a visa would likely impose significant costs and/or demands on New Zealand's health and special education services."
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