Foreign workers and international students say they are missing crucial milestones with partners and children because of immigration delays.
Some of them have had to leave family behind to start or resume courses and jobs.
Rohan Macwan married Sharon Parmer in India in December, but had to return to work as a procurement controller in New Zealand.
Six months on, he is worried his wife will not be in New Zealand when he becomes a citizen this winter, and possibly not even for their first wedding anniversary.
He said they miss each other and their newlywed months have now disappeared.
"There is a lot of social pressure as well as emotional pressure," he said.
"We wanted to be with each other and spend those days after marriage with each other, as close as possible and spend all those holidays, going out for trips."
Immigration New Zealand says there are high volumes of temporary visa applications from India, of which about 95 percent need additional information or verification.
Sonam Kulkarni and Sameer Risbud were married on 2 January and he too returned to work in Auckland.
"We were expecting our visa to come within 60 days and thus had planned a small wedding reception in Auckland for close friends and family," she said.
"But unfortunately we had to cancel the reception as I didn't receive [my] visa. I also missed my niece's birthday party and my brother in law and sister in law's 10th wedding anniversary party which we had planned in advance.
"Staying apart for a long time is mentally draining and difficult for both of us."
He flew back to India last month for a visit, and they say they have never received any replies to their emails from immigration.
A petition calling for the immigration minister to take action over the delays has been signed by more than 2000 people.
Anveshana Aravind Chatla and Rickishesh Gudimalla are among them.
"I promised her to keep and see her happy for the whole married life but all I got to see is tears filled in her eyes everyday, literally every day, and I'm just left helpless.
"I don't want anything else just my wife in my arms and kiss her on forehead and tell her it's all over, no more distance between us."