A Fijian man who was two days too old to apply for residence has been told no exception can be made to allow his application.
Joeli Taliyai, a skilled worker whose work visa expires in July, applied for residence two days before his 56th birthday, the cutoff age.
However, his documents were returned because they were incomplete - and now he has been told the application was made too late.
His immigration adviser Jasmine Bath said they appealed to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on the grounds of unfairness.
"Instead of calling him and giving him a couple hours to submit it so he doesn't cross the age, they actually returned the whole file by courier.
"By the time he received it and went back to lodge it with those two documents, he had missed the age requirement."
Immigration New Zealand should have phoned him as it had done in other cases, Ms Bath said.
Mr Taliyai's application included his 52-year-old wife, and both had failed to sign the declaration, the tribunal said in its ruling. They had also failed to include the 'Additional Details' forms, which were needed to process his application.
The tribunal ruled Immigration New Zealand had no discretion on age requirements.
While the couple had two daughters who were residents in New Zealand, they also had a son and extended family back in Fiji, the tribunal noted.