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Mr Chan (33), from Hong Kong, and Ms Pan (36), from Taiwan, are among 1600 long-term temporary migrants likely to receive residency under a one-off scheme.
They arrived in Queenstown separately eight years ago and met while working in tourism.
Both moved to Tekapo in 2012 when Aotea New Zealand opened its gift shop there, Mr Chan becoming store manager and Ms Pan office administrator.
They bought a house there two years ago but their future in the country has always been uncertain as they did not meet the criteria for residency.
Now, after yesterday's announcement, they are on a pathway to residency in two years.
It will mean they can finally stop the annual or biennial working visa applications under the Essential Skills category, with all the paperwork, medicals and police checks they entail.
They might even get married and have a baby.
''We've been waiting to be more stable,'' Ms Pan said.
Mr Chan asked where they would go, being from different countries, without residency if they married and had a baby. ''
They have been together seven years.
''We love New Zealand. It is our dream life,'' Mr Chan said.
''You can see the people are relaxed here. Compared to Asia it's much more about enjoying life and nature.''
Ms Pan said New Zealand was less urban and ''people trust each other''.
The couple were coincidentally attending a management training day in a conference room at Queenstown's Crown Plaza Hotel, adjacent to where Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse made the announcement.
Aotea New Zealand co-owner Richard Hanson says the immigration tweaks are ''very important''.
''It's a lot clearer now with a pathway and the reduced complexity [around wage bands].''
Brother and co-owner Donald Hanson said New Zealand benefited from staff with language skills, such as Mr Chan and Ms Pan.
About 60% to 65% of Aotea's sales are of goods made in New Zealand.
''So it creates a supply chain which employs more people. They are on the front line of it.''