A Filipino family who have lived in New Zealand for nine years have been rejected for residency partly due to their daughter's Down Syndrome, despite her being born here.

Dennis Mana-ay and his wife have called Tauranga home since November 2007.

They have two daughters, Denise, 12, and Danielle, 6, who was born in New Zealand and has Down Syndrome.

Mana-ay, 43, is a community support worker at LINC Support Services, an organisation aiding those with mental illness and addictions.


The family has been living in New Zealand on work visas.

"In 2013 we applied [for residency], but it was declined because Danielle, who was born here, has Down Syndrome," said Mana-ay.

"We then went to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, but we were declined. We also went to the Associate Minister at the time, Craig Foss, but were declined again."

Mana-ay said the family believed Danielle was making improvements and doing well, so at the end of 2016, the family applied again for residency.

But he says they were declined again, this time because his job as a community worker did not meet the requirements in the skilled migrant category.

"According to them, my work as a community worker is not a skill," he said.

"It's upsetting because we've been here more than nine years now, paying taxes."

His eldest daughter, who had "always seen New Zealand as her home", had been crying due to the stress, Mana-ay said.

Their visas expired in June, he said, but it was "very difficult" as they were in limbo, unsure whether they could afford flights back to the Philippines.

Immigration New Zealand area manager Darren Calder confirmed both applications had been rejected in October 2013 and again in February.

"The first application was declined because Danielle Mana-ay did not meet the health requirements to be granted residence."

There was a "relatively high probability" that treatment for Danielle's medical conditions would cost in excess of $25,000 over her lifetime, he said.

"The second application was declined because INZ was not satisfied that Mr Mana-ay's job is a substantial match to the occupations listed under Welfare Support Worker as set out in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations ."

Mana-ay was assessed as having a total of 60 points under the Skilled Migrant Category, Calder said, which was "well below" the required 100 points migrants must gain to be considered.

The length of time applicants had spent in New Zealand had no bearing on the decision, the spokesman said.

"The family has a right of appeal against the residence decision to the independent Immigration and Protection Tribunal."

The rules:

• Skilled Migrant Category targets migrants with qualifications/experience NZ needs
• Works on a system that awards points for several factors including a skilled job offer, experience, qualifications and age
• Extra points awarded for migrants living outside Auckland
• Applicants need to meet a number of base requirements
• Other family included in the application must meet the same requirements

How it works:

• Applicants applying for residence under the SMC submit an expression of interest
• Contains details of their character, qualifications, work experience and relevant skills
• INZ does a fortnightly draw selecting EOIs based on the points, then invites people with sufficient points to apply for residence
• Applicants need at least 100 points to be accepted into the selection pool
• The points threshold for automatic selection is 160