Immigration officials have been ordered to reconsider their decision not to grant residency to the mother of a young boy with Down Syndrome.

The agency rejected the American woman's application on the grounds her son would become a burden on New Zealand society and need full-time care - despite clear evidence to the contrary.

The pair arrived here in 2014, and the mother, aged 28, has a work visa until 2018. Her son's visa expired this year. She applied for residence in 2016, and included her son on the application.

But Immigration NZ denied her request, saying her son "was not of an acceptable standard of health".

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In some cases the health requirement can be waived, but Immigration NZ said that would not happen because her son had an "incapacity" that it claimed required full-time care.

The mother explained her son, who is 8, had been in a mainstream class in primary school with the help of a teacher aide. Outside school hours he was cared for by his mother and stepfather; he did not require full-time care.

Experts backed her up, vouching that the boy was healthy, well adjusted and had behavioural scores "towards the upper end" for a child with Down Syndrome.

A team of experts from a disability centre said the boy had "the capacity to be an active participant within New Zealand mainstream classroom to learn, to develop and to contribute to New Zealand's society".

But after receiving those glowing reports, Immigration NZ ran the case past a second medical assessor, who still "ticked the box" saying he would need full-time care. Immigration NZ then declined the application.

But the woman has successfully appealed that decision through the Immigration and Protection Tribunal. It said the medical assessments were "unfair and inadequate".

"The deficiencies in the medical assessors' opinions were overlooked by Immigration New Zealand," the tribunal said in its decision in January. "That was a serious flaw in Immigration New Zealand's processing of the application."

A different Immigration NZ officer and medical assessor must now consider her case.

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The woman's right to residency was not guaranteed but her application must be subject to a "fair and proper reassessment", the tribunal said.

Dennis and Marilene Mana-ay, with daughters Denise (left) and Danielle, had their residency application rejected, despite living and working here for nine years. Photo/Supplied
Dennis and Marilene Mana-ay, with daughters Denise (left) and Danielle, had their residency application rejected, despite living and working here for nine years. Photo/Supplied

The case follows that of the Mana-ay family, who were declined residency after living in New Zealand for nine years partly because of their daughter's Down Syndrome.

Their daughter Danielle, 6, was born in New Zealand. Repeated appeals against Immigration NZ's decision were denied.

They were due to be sent back to the Philippines in June.