Foreign investors interested in developing a business activity in New Zealand have the possibility of applying for a New Zealand investment visa. Currently, the are two types of investor visas in New Zealand – the Investor 1 and the Investor 2, each one of them requiring different investment thresholds and various requirements, and they can open the opportunity of applying for New Zealand citizenship as well.
Our immigration lawyer in New Zealand can present the basic requirements that are imposed for each investor visa available here and can provide in-depth information on the investment legislation applicable here. If you need legal assistance on how to invest in this country, you can easily receive the advice of our lawyer.
How can one apply for the Investor 1 Resident Visa in New Zealand in 2021?
An investor visa in New Zealand that foreigners can obtain is the Investor 1 Resident Visa, a visa that offers a New Zealand residence permit that can be issued as a permanent document. Through this, the foreign investor is required to make an investment with a value of at least NZ $10 million, which has to be invested in a period of 3 years since the moment when the investor visa in New Zealand was granted.
This document provides the right to permanent residency, so it can be used as a way to migrate to New Zealand on an indefinite basis. Moreover, it provides the right of bringing close family members here. An additional advantage is that the applicant can bring large and valuable personal items, such as boats or cars, without paying any customs fees. These customs procedures are handled by the New Zealand Customs Service.
When arriving here under an investor visa in New Zealand and through the Investor 1 Resident Visa, the applicant can enter five basic categories of investments – residential property, owning New Zealand companies by overseas businesses, commercial property, philanthropic investments or growth investments; each category allows specific types of investment activities, which can be presented by our immigration lawyer in New Zealand.
Investors should know that this type of visa imposes certain residency requirements when obtaining the New Zealand residence permit. For instance, the investor is obliged to spend at least 44 days in New Zealand in each of the first two years of investment. The investor must also gather all the documents presenting the manner in which the investment was made, as all the documents will need to be analyzed by the local authorities.
Although numerous countries across the world have modified to a certain extent the procedures and quotas for investment visas due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in New Zealand, foreign investors who want to obtain an investor visa in 2021 will benefit from the same regulations that were previously known. Still, upon their arrival in the country they may need to comply with new regulations concerning safety and health, rules that were taken in 2020 and maintained throughout 2021 (Covid test, quarantine, etc.).
You can watch the video below on how to obtain an investor visa in New Zealand:
Obtaining an Investor 2 Resident Visa in New Zealand
Another program for the investor visa in New Zealand is the Investor 2 Resident Visa. In this case, investors must have a proven business experience and they need to provide relevant papers with regards to their business activities developed over the years. The right to obtain the investor visa in New Zealand is limited only to those who will send an Expression of Interest. With regards to the Investor 2 Resident Visa, businessmen should know the following:
• there is a limit of 400 visas issued as Investor 2 Resident Visa per year;
• foreign investors can participate in this program for the New Zealand investment visa if they have an age of up to 65 years old;
• there is a point-based system for the business activity of the investor – business experience of up to 3 years is rewarded with 9 points, while experience of more than 15 years will receive 45 points;
• the value of the investment also counts, thus investments of up to $3 million will receive 10 points, while investments of $9,75 million will receive 145 points;
• English speaking foreign investors will receive 20 points;
• age will also be analyzed based on the point system – an age of 30 years old will receive 20 points, while an age between 60 to 65 years old will receive 0 points.
Applicants of an investor visa in New Zealand as an Investor 2 Resident Visa will be required to spend at least 146 days per year in this country. The alternative is to spend 438 days here in any given period, over the 4 years of investment, if the investor has invested at least $750,000 in growth investments.
Just like in the case of the previous New Zealand investment visa, the investor will be required to gather all the documents with regards to the investments concluded in this country and, from the moment when the local authorities will require these documents, the investor will have 3 months in order to present them.
What are the main investments for an investor visa in New Zealand?
The legislation on immigration in New Zealand prescribes several categories of investments that are accepted when applying for an investor visa. The foreigner is eligible for applying for an investor visa in New Zealand provided that he or she will be interested in holding equity in a locally founded company.
The New Zealand company can be a private or a public business. The manner in which the foreign businessmen can invest in a local business also allows several options, as all active or passive investments are accepted. It is also worth knowing that the investment can be direct or made through various funds.
Businessmen can also invest through bonds that are issued by the New Zealand authorities, the New Zealand government or by approved banks operating in this country. Bonds issued by financial companies are also eligible. Another type of investment that is available for businessmen who migrate to New Zealand through a business visa is the investment in residential property development projects, as long as they are not for the investors’ personal use.
The investments in such projects can only be made for commercial purposes, meaning that the investors will want to obtain a return on their investment by selling the respective real estate to various entities. You may find out more details on the legislation referring to foreign investments in this country from our immigration lawyer in New Zealand.
Investors can also invest in commercial property, which means that the respective property can be used for business purposes that can have a commercial return. Please be aware that in the case in which the respective property is a new one, additional measures will have to be applied, in the sense that the property must be approved by the local institutions, receive the necessary permits and so on. Our immigration lawyer in New Zealand can help you with in-depth advice on such procedures.
As we presented earlier in this article, philanthropic investments are also of importance for the New Zealand society and the local authorities encourage foreign businessmen in applying for a visa issued for this purpose. The businessman can obtain an investor visa in New Zealand for philanthropic purposes, but here, certain conditions must be fulfilled, as presented in the short list below:
- the value of the philanthropic investment can be of maximum 15% of the overall investment concluded in New Zealand;
- the donation can be made in the name of a charity organization registered with the Inland Revenue of New Zealand;
- the organization can also be a not-for-profit organization which has as main activities related to social, cultural or economic development;
- the time since the organization has been active is of importance as well when analyzing a philanthropic investment;
- for this, the organization’s financial records may be required, as well as other important papers and this is why, when applying for a New Zealand investment visa for philanthropic purposes, we highly advise you to receive legal advice from our lawyer.
What types of legal entities can investors register in New Zealand in 2021?
The legislation on foreign investments in New Zealand provides very flexible and attractive policies. Foreign investors are allowed to establish any of the legal entities prescribed by the commercial law, but, when they apply for an investor visa in New Zealand, it is worth knowing that they have only few options.
Those who want to immigrate to New Zealand may register a trust, a limited company or a limited partnership. When registering any of these company types, specific conditions have to be respected. For instance, when registering a trust, the investor has to be the sole trustee and has to be a natural person. In the case in which the investor is a corporate entity, then the right of establishing a trust will not be granted.
When registering a limited company or a limited partnership, the investor will be able to benefit from the same rights as it is in the case of local businessmen, but it is necessary to know that the funds of such business forms can’t be lent to any third parties when registering the businesses under an investor visa in New Zealand.
Foreign businessmen can also apply for an investor visa in New Zealand as a Global Impact Visa, addressed solely to high impact investors. This type of visa aims at attracting on the local market visionary businessmen, who invest in start-up ideas. One can immigrate in New Zealand through business visas, which have different requirements (with much lower investment thresholds and which are generally addressed to persons who want to relocate here and have their own businesses).
This visa can be used to immigrate to New Zealand, to become an employee in a local company, to study in this country or to bring close family members here, including children with an age of up to 24 years old. Our lawyer can present the steps for obtaining New Zealand citizenship.
How can foreigners obtain a Global Impact Visa?
If you want to obtain a New Zealand investment visa as a Global Impact Visa, you should know that you can receive the permanent residency here only after three years. First, the foreigner who wants to migrate to New Zealand for investment purposes has to send an application to the Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF), the entity in charge with this visa program. If the application is successful, then the person will be allowed to apply for the Global Impact Visa.
The EHF will provide the right to arrive in New Zealand under this visa to a cohort of selected applicants every six months, as long as they meet the required standards, which refer to their excellence in their field of work. Although the Global Impact Visa is designed as a work visa for highly qualified persons, it can also apply to foreign investors. More specifically, this can be used as a New Zealand investment visa for those interested in participating in certain business ventures.
Please be aware that although this is one of the visas prescribed by the law on immigration to New Zealand, the selection process will not be handled by the New Zealand immigration authorities. Instead, the EHF will determine who are the most suitable applicants and the list of the selected foreigners will be then send to Immigration Office in New Zealand, which will be in charge with the visa application process.
Applicants must know that this New Zealand investment visa is issued for a period of 36 months, and the holder of the visa is allowed to apply for permanent residency after 30 months of staying here. Those who have been selected by the EHF are required to be part of the EHF for minimum 30 months in order to be entitled to start the procedure for permanent residency in New Zealand.
Please be aware that this visa type can’t be used as a family reunification program, which means that if you have a family, its members can’t be included in this visa. Still, your family members are entitled to apply for a separate visa that is most suitable for their situation and then migrate to New Zealand.
Persons who want to use this immigration document as a New Zealand investment visa will have to comply with mostly the same requirements, but they should know that if the document is used for investment purposes, then a quota of 400 such visas is made available for foreigners, as it was the case in the 4 years pilot program.
As we said above, the applicants have to be accepted by the EHF first and then become its members (or fellows). After the EHF accepted your application, you will then have to sent a Letter of Offer when applying for the visa to the New Zealand Immigration Office, a letter that will be issued by the EHF.
In order to qualify for this visa, you have to make the proof of having sufficient financial funds to migrate to New Zealand (a sum of NZ $36,000 is required for the first year of stay, regardless if you arrive alone or with other family members). Besides this, you will need to provide documents attesting that you meet the health and good character requirements, but you must also be able to speak English.
Since the implementation of this visa program made in collaboration with the EHF, the local authorities have gained knowledge on how this program is implemented and what are its results. Comparative studies were made between the first cohorts of persons who have received the New Zealand investment visa or the Global Impact Visa for work purposes, and some of the findings are presented below:
- most of the persons who used this visa to migrate to New Zealand were male, with an age of 30 to 39 years old, operating in fields such as finance, insurance or scientific industries;
- the program started very well, as the EHF received 1131 compliant applications, out of which 456 applications were chosen;
- in the Cohort 1 program, it was observed that the owners of a New Zealand investment visa spent, on average, 135 days here;
- the pilot program had funds of NZ$ 4 million, out which 71% of them were provided by the Immigration New Zealand;
- the EHF funding obtained from visa applications accounted for 19% of the funding (measured from 2017, when the program started, to November 2018);
- the Cohort 1 had 390 compliant applications (and 61 remained after the initial assessment), Cohort 2 had 231 compliant applications and 147 after the initial assessment and Cohort 3 had 510 compliant applications and after the initial assessment, remained 248.
You can contact our immigration lawyer for additional details on the process of applying for an investor visa in New Zealand. Our lawyer can also present the types of investments that can be accepted in the case of the Investor 2 visa and the types of companies the investor can set up here.