The Supreme Court has granted two Chinese families the right to appeal against an Immigation Service decision to deport them.
In the cases, the husband or wife were denied refugee status shortly after arriving from China in 1996.
One couple subsequently had three children, the other couple had two.
In one case the husband, Mr Ye, was deported in 2004 and a removal order was served on his wife a year later. Her lawyer made an application for her to stay in New Zealand on humanitarian grounds.
In the other case both the husband, He Qiu, and his wife were ordered to leave the country, but neither have been deported because of the Supreme Court case.
Justice Tipping says the Court's judgement is that the Immigration Minister or a designated immigration officer must reconsider whether removal orders for both couples should be cancelled.