Filipino cancer survivor to be deported from New Zealand

A Filipino woman who survived brain cancer has been told she must leave the country within six months because of her medical costs.

The 44-year-old woman has lived in New Zealand since February 2014. In April 2018, six months after surviving surgery for a brain tumour, she applied for a work visa. 

Her visa was declined on the grounds that she would need regular MRI scans.

In her appeal to Immigration New Zealand in October she told the tribunal she would not be able to afford brain scans in the Philippines due to low wages, and if her tumour returned she could die as she had no savings.

Basic brain surgery in the Philippines would cost approximately NZ$14,500. 

Her neurosurgeon says there is a 20 percent chance of the cancer returning in the next five years.

The tribunal accepted the woman was at risk of a further tumour developing but "that risk is not certain".

The woman also appealed on the basis that her two sons would suffer if she was deported. The boys, aged 11 and 16 live in the Philippines with her partner.

However, her partner can only work part-time. Rent, school and clothing is all paid for by the woman's income.

The tribunal acknowledged her family would take a "drastic" financial hit, but this did not meet the threshold for being an "exceptional humanitarian circumstance".

She has been granted a six-month work visa to allow her time to get her affairs in order, and to ensure she has enough money to return to the Philippines and pay for her MRI scans there.