29 July 2009

New Zealand government opens up investment visa

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The New Zealand Government has recently loosened some of the restrictions on the investor visa policy, which it blames for a sharp decline in business migration to New Zealand over recent years.

New Zealand Business Visa

The Government has made changes to the New Zealand Business Visa categories, including the Investor Plus and the Investor visas.

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman announced the change to the new Migrant Investor Policy yesterday.

He said that since 2007, there have only been 23 migrants brought to New Zealand through the previous Labour government’s business visa migration scheme, the Active Investor Policy.

As part of the changes, the number of migrant investor visa categories have been reduced from three to two and standard requirements have been relaxed.

The new Investor Plus (Investor 1 Category) requires that migrants bring investment capital of $10m into the country for three years; a big drop from the old Global Investor category that required $20m over four years.

The age limit, set at 64, has been eliminated and as before there is no language requirement.

Investor (Investor 2 Category)  migrants will now only need to bring in $1.5m of capital for four years, below the minimum $2.5 million that was previously required.

The age limit for this category has been increased from 54 to 65 and the language requirement has been lowered from IELTS 4 to IELTS 3, although with 20 hours’ additional tutoring requirements.

For entrepreneurial migrants there has been a new Entrepreneur Plus category added, giving residence to applicants who create at least three full-time jobs and invest at least $500,000 in their business.

“This fresh approach will ensure we bring more investors, connect them with existing business networks, and create real jobs for New Zealanders,” said Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee.

The changes were suggested at the Prime Minister’s Job Summit as a way of stimulating New Zealand’s economy.

Icebreaker Clothing chief executive Jeremy Moon, who was a chair at the summit, said the scheme to bring more investor migrants in is a “win-win” situation.

“Business leaders suggested this idea during the Job Summit as something that could be highly effective for little cost," he told The National Business Review.

“I back the idea because the more investment and entrepreneurship we can get in New Zealand the better.”

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in New Zealand visas and immigration. 



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