The Business of Immigration

Article published in New Zealand, September 2012

New Zealand Immigration policy currently demonstrates a constructive bias towards encouraging wealth into New Zealand.

Whilst we may take them for granted, New Zealand’s unique features are highly attractive to wealthy offshore families, including no estate duty (you die for free), no gift duty, no Capital Gains Tax and a political landscape so boringly stable that no one would bother bombing us.  Small wonder John Key describes New Zealand as the Switzerland of the Southern Hemisphere.

There are various permanent residency options available at the premium end of the immigration spectrum, commencing at the top with the Investor Plus Category.  Under Investor Plus, an applicant with capital of $10 million available to invest in New Zealand for a period of 3 years can apply for permanent residence, and only needs to spend 44 days in New Zealand in each of the last two years of the three year investment period.  The applicant need speak no English at all.

One step down from Investor Plus is the more modest Investor Category, requiring investment funds of $1.5 million, 3 years of business experience and a further sum of $1 million to be available by way of settlement funds.  Effectively, $2.5 million will buy you permanent residence in New Zealand.  However, an English requirement of level 3 of the International English Language Testing System (“IELTS”) needs to be met, and 146 days of physical presence in New Zealand is required during each of the last three years of the four year investment period.  To put it crassly, less money requires more physical presence, business experience, and better English.

The Entrepreneur Categories present an exciting opportunity for offshore capital to actively engage with onshore business opportunities.  An applicant with suitable business experience can apply for a Long Term Business Visa on the basis of establishing a new business or purchasing at least 25% of an existing business.  A sound business plan clearly demonstrating that the venture will benefit New Zealand is required.  English language ability (level 4 of the IELTS) is required.  It is important to note that there is no minimum investment required.

A step up from the Entrepreneur Category is the Entrepreneur Plus Category – you guessed it, more money invested equates to speedier permanent residence.  Under this category, if capital of at least $500,000 is invested in a business, creating at least three additional full time employment opportunities (for Kiwi citizens or residents), then a conditional residence visa will be granted immediately.

Given the range of options available, we encourage applicants to seek advice and to ensure that they are embarking on the most efficient migration route available.

The above article is provided for general information and does not constitute legal advice.

We invite you to contact us at to discuss your specific circumstances prior to making your residence application.

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