A 10-year-old Filipino child faces deportation and separation from her family after Immigration New Zealand declined an extension to her visa.
The child, who cannot be identified, has been living in Nelson with her parents and brother for around two years.
Newshub understands the parents' work visas were renewed for a further two-year period without issue, as well as the visa for their son. However, Immigration New Zealand declined to grant the 10-year-old the document.
The family is now desperately worried that if their child's visa is not issued, the 10-year-old will be required to travel back to the Philippines alone.
Speaking to Newshub, the child's principal - who also cannot be named - said she believes the refusal was based on the expense of the child's learning disability.
The educator is now fighting for her student to stay in the country with her family, and has written a letter to Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi in support of their case.
"Obviously I'm disappointed. She has become an integral part of our school community," the principal said.
The parents are willing to cover the additional costs associated with supporting their daughter's learning difficulties, she says. The 10-year-old receives two hours of learning support each day - a cost that does carry a "taxpayer implication".
However, the principal believes once the Immigration Minister has recognised the family's willingness to pick up that cost, he will look into the case "with great compassion".
The principal argues that deporting the child would breach the United Nations' Convention of Rights.
"I think children are entitled to the security of their family. Particularly a child that has the vulnerability this child has."
However, she remains positive that the cost of the child's learning support is the barrier and the initial decision will be overturned.
"I think the minister will quite easily make an exception in this case given the fact that the family doesn't want to be a burden on the taxpayer."
Newshub understands the case is in the process of being assessed and the principal's letter has been received.
"I'm sure when [Faafoi] does have the opportunity to look at it, he will look at it with compassion," she said.
The parents, who "love New Zealand", are now putting their faith in the system and are hopeful their family will remain united.
"They are committed to supporting the school and community, and desperately want their daughter to be with them."
Immigration New Zealand said it could not comment without a privacy waiver.