Two government agencies are in a legal scrap over an Indian student who claims he did not know his visa application was tainted by fraud.
Navneet Singh was in limbo while he waited to see who would prevail: the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, which granted him an eight month visa; or Immigration New Zealand which said the tribunal exceeded its powers.
Court documents have shown that immigration officials worried that if Mr Singh received the interim visa it would set a bad precedent, contrary to the government's harder-nosed approach to crack down on fraud in the foreign student industry in the last 10 months.
If Immigration won out, it would confirm Mr Singh was liable for deportation.
Mr Singh completed a level five business diploma in April last year, then applied for a second student visa to do level six study.
Meantime, it was revealed that the sponsor - his uncle - and the bank account he declared when applying for his first visa had not been used to pay his tuition or living expenses here, so his application was refused.
He appealed to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on humanitarian grounds, saying he trusted the education agent in India who submitted the fraudulent bank documents without him knowing.
But the tribunal said he was ultimately responsible for the visa information he provided, and that he did not deny it was wrong.
It rejected his appeal overall on the grounds that his case was not that unusual - for the appeal to succeed there had to be "exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature".
He did not have family here and could readily return to life in India, the tribunal said. He had received the level five business diploma he had studied for, it noted.
However, the tribunal directed that he be given an eight-month visa to let him finish his level six business studies course, which he had already paid for.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Immigration have appealed, arguing the decision was tantamount to the tribunal creating a de facto right of appeal for students.
The next court hearing would be held next month.
Immigration declined to comment.