Former immigration minister Michael Woodhouse says he is confident ''a way through'' can be found for Taieri couple Harrie and Pawandeep Chander.

The couple's future together was in jeopardy as Mrs Chander, a nurse, faced deportation to India as Immigration New Zealand deemed her husband's employment as a herd manager on a Woodside property was ''lower skilled'' and declined her application for a work visa.

The Dunedin National list MP said his staff last week met Mr and Mrs Chander, whom he met yesterday morning.

The first thing needed was to normalise Mrs Chander's status in New Zealand, he said.

He has written to Associate Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi asking for a 12-month visitor visa to be issued to Mrs Chander under the ''partnership category''.


As she was now unlawfully in the country, it was necessary for Faafoi to exercise his discretion under Section 61 of the Immigration Act to instruct INZ to issue the visa.

''I regard Kris Faafoi as a reasonable and compassionate minister and am confident he will do the appropriate thing.

''In my nearly five years as minister of immigration, I dealt with so many worthy cases. This case is as worthy as any I have seen,'' he said.

Once that was sorted, Woodhouse would continue to work with the couple to advance their application for residency, saying he was sure they would ''make great Kiwis''.