A Canadian woman told to leave the country has been given an unexpected last-minute reprieve - with Immigration officials suddenly reversing their decision.
Katy Davis had been trying for months to get her work visa approved, but all attempts to stay in the country with her husband failed and she'd been told to leave the country.
Newshub asked Immigration NZ (INZ) about the case, and then after Ms Davis had flown out to Canada on Monday, she heard from her husband and his daughter during a stop-over in Los Angeles that INZ was reconsidering.
Her husband Greg Davis, a student support worker at a high school, told Newshub it seemed like a joke learning of INZ's change of heart nine hours after she hopped on the plane.
"Both my daughter and I were at home feeling sorry for ourselves, we were taking a TLC day and then we received the news," he said.
He said he and Ms Davis had been in the same space as far as feeling "pretty down", but both couldn't stop smiling once she knew.
"Our cheeks were sore so it was really nice."
On Friday NZ's visa services manager Michael Carley told Newshub that in this case, it granted an exception to instructions to grant Ms Davis a work visa.
"The original decision to decline a work visa was correct. Given Ms Davis' intention to apply for a residence visa based on her partnership to a New Zealand citizen, INZ decided to use its discretion to grant a visa to allow her to remain in New Zealand to apply for a residence visa under the partnership category."
He said INZ encourages Ms Davis to apply for a residence visa as soon as possible.
Ms Davis had already used up her two partnership work visas - but when she went for a third, realised INZ only allow for two. The 31-year-old had the option to either apply for residency and wait the nine-month processing time, or apply for a second work-sponsored visa, which was declined.
Mr Davis said it didn't seem real that she wasn't allowed to stay here, and the last few weeks have been a difficult time for the pair.
"It was really heart-breaking - I felt like a naughty schoolkid in a way, like here's the truth but no one was believing me that yes, this is my wife, she should be allowed to stay here."
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He says the experience has taught them a lot about INZ processes, and wants to urge others to be extremely vigilant when applying to live in New Zealand.
"We learned to ask multiple questions, write down the answers and then ring and ask another person the same bunch of questions to make sure that what they've told you is correct.
"We got so much different information that wasn't helpful for us."
He said it's unfortunate that people have to spend money to understand everything, and paying for an immigration lawyer helped a lot.
"I feel sorry for people that aren't in a position or don't have family to call on to help in those situations."
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Ms Davis told Newshub she is "just over the moon" that her second visa was accepted after reconsideration, and she will be getting her residency application in as soon as she returns.
As she was awaiting the decision, Ms Davis told Newshub that her relationship should be all the proof they need.
She is also a guardian to Mr Davis' two children from a previous relationship, who they care for full-time.
Ms Davis' love for New Zealand started when she arrived in Auckland to tour the North and South Island for six months after backpacking through South East Asia with two friends.
"I didn't expect to love it here as much as I did, and I met Greg in my first week here."
Ms Davis says she feels pain for all of the other couples who face similar challenges and would like to see a fairer policy regarding partners of New Zealand citizens and residents.
"It wasn't until the pair went to submit the third partnership work visa that they found out that they only allow two.
"I think that's a policy that needs to be looked at."
She said that on the day they were at the immigration office, there was another young woman there applying for her third partnership work visa and she had no idea of the policy either.
The couple are grateful that Mrs Davis can stay but it's come at a cost of $10,000 between lawyer fees and the flights to Canada and back, so have launched a Givealittle page to recoup some of the money.