The man, Hu Bin, was granted a student visa to attend Auckland University of Technology before national security checks were completed.
Newsroom understands the immigration service has now reviewed the legal status of his visa and presence in the country after the SIS finished its security check.
Hu, born in 1989, is understood to have come to New Zealand in September 2016. Before starting his four-year doctoral course at AUT last August, he took an English course in Auckland to meet language requirements.
He recently returned to China, telling colleagues he would return at the end of this month once his next one-year visa was approved.