Information and communications technology (ICT) workers who were refused visas after being classed as call centre operators say further delays to their cases are draining their hopes and causing mental anguish.
The ICT customer service workers won an appeals tribunal case in November but are still awaiting Immigration New Zealand's re-assessment of their claims.
One of the workers, who did not want to be named, said he and other immigrants had lost thousands of dollars in fighting their case for the last 18 months.
He believed it was a deliberate strategy to prompt immigrants to give up on valid applications by wearing them down.
"they are trying to take as much time as possible and people who are nearing the end of their visa will probably go back to their country and that is how they can cut down on immigration," he said.
"We have already lost thousands in fighting against an unfair decision and have suffered mentally enough that slowly all our hopes are draining away.
"It's been an absolute nightmare for the past 17 to 18 months, as we are totally stressed out financially and mentally, so that some of our colleagues have even visited doctors as they are now mentally upset as well."
Immigration New Zealand area manager Marcelle Foley said cases referred back by the Immigration and Protection Tribunal were prioritised, but it was not possible to say when decisions would be made.
Immigration New Zealand had completed its review of the applications and was now reassessing them, she said.