ZB

Foreign investors will need to work harder to get NZ residency

Author
Jenée Tibshraeny, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Jul 2022, 4:18pm
Minister for Economic and Regional Development Stuart Nash hopes new visa category will attract more direct investment to New Zealand companies. Photo / George Heard
Minister for Economic and Regional Development Stuart Nash hopes new visa category will attract more direct investment to New Zealand companies. Photo / George Heard

Foreign investors will need to work harder to get NZ residency

Author
Jenée Tibshraeny, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Jul 2022, 4:18pm

The Government is narrowing the types of investments it wants cashed-up foreigners seeking residence in New Zealand to invest in.

It is committing to creating a new "Active Investor Plus" visa category to replace the existing "Investor 1" and "Investor 2" visa categories.

The new category reflects a tightening of immigration settings.

It will reward applicants who commit to investing directly in New Zealand companies with high-growth potential.

These companies will need to be "okayed" by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Conversely, the new category will make it harder for applicants to gain residence by committing to investing in equities listed on the NZX, private investment funds and charities.

It will also completely remove the ability for foreigners to gain residence by investing in bonds and property.

Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said the aim of the change is to "attract active and high-value migrants who will bring their international expertise to help New Zealand businesses to grow".

While the existing visa categories have attracted more than $12 billion to New Zealand over the past decade, Nash said they often resulted in passive investment in shares and bonds rather than investment directly into New Zealand companies.

He said this made for a "missed opportunity" to attract "more active investors who can deliver real benefits to our economy over a long period of time".

The new visa category, which will open on September 19, will mean those who make direct investments will be able to commit to investing smaller amounts than those who make indirect investments.

Those who make New Zealand and Enterprise-approved direct investments will only have to invest $5 million. Those who invest in private equity, venture capital funds, listed equities and philanthropy will have to invest at least $15m.

The investments can be made over a three-year period. Investors have to maintain their investments up to the end of the fourth year.

The existing investor visa categories require initial up-front investments. However, they also give visa applicants the ability to invest smaller amounts of money – IE as little as $2.5m if they physically spend more time in New Zealand (438 days over four years).

The new category requires investors to spend at least 117 days in New Zealand over the four-year investment period. This is less time than the existing Investor 1 category mentioned above, and more time than the existing Investor 2 category.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood said requiring migrants to spend more time in New Zealand will provide more opportunities for them to become involved in the businesses they've invested in, "further sharing their expertise and connections".

"Spending time here also increases the likelihood of further active investment. The changes align with similar investor migrant settings in Australia," Wood said.

Applicants under the Investor 1 and Investor 2 visas will no longer be accepted after July 27. All applications in the current pipeline will continue to be processed by Immigration New Zealand.