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I live in Lebanon, A company abroad reached for me and offered a relocation visa to New Zeeland, I was so happy, to avoid surprises I disclosed that I have cerebral palsy, but that doesn't affect my job at all nor my independence, I just walk on crutches. They disappeared.

I knew they were going to disappear, in fact when I read their offer, I took a screenshot and sent it to my friends and family and I said to them "How much are you willing to bet that as soon as they read about my disability, they're going to disappear?". None of them replied.

Them disappearing is nothing new to me, local companies disappear, the ones that I can easily go to. Of course, a company abroad would do the same, not having to go through potential issues. This is the second or third company abroad to do that.

My only question would be, is there an ethical way not to disclose my disability or disclose it in such a way that it doesn't make the second party afraid of hiring me? Because I worked my whole life for that moment, I just hate that I lost an opportunity of a lifetime because of something beyond my control.

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My only question would be, is there an ethical way not to disclose my disability or disclose it in such a way that it doesn't make the second party afraid of hiring me?

In short, I would not disclose the information until you have to. Let the company get to know you first. Your best bet IMO is for them to actually meet you face to face first -- without jeopardizing yourself legally.

I would not mention this on the phone, or on my cover letter, or my resume. They don't need to know that before you actually interview with them face to face.

  • I agree with building a rapport is a great idea. I also add it might help with getting a waiver if the country denies entry due to a medical condition. They'd know who you are and want to do what they can to get you in. They might just see you as trouble if you just say you have medical conditions because you're only talk to the recruiter rather than the manger who would okay hiring you. – Dan Aug 19 at 18:13
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So far, existing answers have focused on the discrimination angle--which is correct and important.

However, because you are applying for overseas jobs which will require a work permit or immigration visa, I have a different take on the answer.

The Netherlands and New Zealand companies were rude, no question about it. They probably were discriminating based on your disorder.

Unfortunately, many countries require a health clearance for a work permit or immigration visa. They do not want to take on significant costs associated with certain disabilities or health issues. This often includes spouses and children, not just the primary candidate.

New Zealand and Australia both do this. So does Canada, although Canada has relatively recently raised the amount of possible health care charges due to the disability which may allow more people to immigrate or get permanent residence easily.

You need to research a country's requirements for health issues before applying for a job there or you're wasting both your time and a company's time.

  • 1
    Thanks so much for your answer, I didn't apply for NZ, they reached out. Researching this subject is very tricky, the information is very hard to find sometimes. – Lynob Aug 18 at 19:27
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    Call the country's consulate and ask. (Many countries have consulates associated with their embassies in Beirut.) "A Lebanese friend with a disability has been offered a good job in your country.The disability has no effect on his ability to do that job. What must he do to get permission from your government to move there?" – O. Jones Aug 19 at 10:26
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Many countries have laws preventing discrimination on the basis of disability. You could have a legal case against the prospective employer if you can prove that discrimination has taken place. However, the other side of that is that many employers are therefore aware of the law and very aware of the repercussions should they be found guilty of discrimination. This can extend to them avoiding even asking about anything that could be considered discrimination.

So, the big question I would ask is: "Why did you mention your disability to a potential employer?" If your CV indicates that you are skilled for the role and they are prepared to advance the paperwork so you can visit, presumably for a face-to-face interview, why not just show up for the interview and show them you are just as capable as the next person of getting to the workplace and doing the job?

  • Yes, there are laws. Proving it though, is hard. – Mast Aug 17 at 9:02
  • Is it discrimination if the immigration laws would mean the person is not eligible for relocation? (Following the comments wrt NZ and Australia medically denying visa for cerebral palsy) – Fábio Dias Aug 18 at 19:49
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IMHO, Unless it can directly affect your work duties, you are not responsible to disclose it.

Second, in current situation you would not be able to prove discrimination, at later stages of the employment process it may be more possible.

And finally, when you will be able to prove it, you will not have to, because company will be aware of it as well and you will be able to move your worth to the company on to your professional level.

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