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New Zealand Business Visa & Work Permit Policy
Business Law

New Zealand Business Visa & Work Permit Policy

New Zealand Business Visa / Work Permit policies are complex, and cover Long Term Business Visa & Work Permits, Entrepreneur and Employees of Relocating Business categories. For those wishing to emigrate to NZ, this page provides an outline of some of the current Immigration NZ Business Visa categories. For detailed information and advice, contact us directly:

The objective of Business Immigration policy is to contribute to economic growth through:
a. Increasing New Zealand’s level of human capital;
b. Encouraging enterprise and innovation; and
c. Fostering external links.

Long Term Business Visa:

Whilst the Long Term Business Visa / Permit does not immediately provide applicants with permanent residence, it caters for business people who are interested in applying for residence under the Entrepreneur Category, or those who are interested in establishing a business in New Zealand but without living permanently in New Zealand. In order for an applicant to be granted a Long Term Business Visa (for up to three years) applicants must provide a comprehensive business plan, financial forecasts, evidence of available investment capital and maintenance funds as well as evidence of previous relevant business experience. Principal applicants must also meet the English language requirement of a suitable English language background or an overall band score of 5.0 on the IELTS examination.  In addition to other strict criteria, the mandatory health and character checks also apply. The Long Term Business Visa can only be renewed once in order to gain permanent residence subsequent to holding a Long Term Business Visa, applicants must then apply under the Entrepreneur Category.

Entrepreneur Category:

The objective of the Entrepreneur Category is to attract migrants who can demonstrate they have been actively participating in business and contributing to New Zealand’s economic development. In order to qualify under this category, principle applicants must provide evidence that they have already either established or substantially invested (own at least 25 per cent of the business) in a successful business in New Zealand. Principle applicants need to demonstrate that the business is benefiting New Zealand in some way and that they have been self employed in New Zealand in that business for at least two years. Principal applicants in this category are required to prove their English language ability either by passing the IELTS English examination with an overall band score of 5.0 or by providing evidence of an English language background.  The mandatory health and character requirements apply.

The Investor Category:

If you are looking to emigrate to New Zealand under the Migrant Investment Policy; there are two options under this policy:

Investor Plus (Investor 1) – An application for residency can be lodged directly
Investor (Investor 2) – EOI is required; if you are invited to apply, residence must be lodged within three months.

To enter into the EOI Pool, you must meet prerequisites for health, character, English language, age, business experience, investment funds and settlement funds, and have a minimum points score of 20 or more. These points accrue from the minimum requirements for:

English language – IELTS 3 level:  1 point
Age – 65 years:  0 points
Business experience 3 years:  9 points

There is no pass mark for EOIs being selected from the Pool. EOIs will be selected periodically from the Pool according to their points ranking in sufficient numbers to suit the places available under the Investor (Investor 2 Category) at the time of selection Investment funds NZ$1.5 million: 10 points.

Requirements for business experience

Business experience is recognised if it is experience in planning, organisation, control, senior change-management, direction-setting and mentoring acquired through ownership of, or management level experience in, a lawful business enterprise that has at least five full-time employees and an annual turn-over of NZ$1 million. Ownership means owning at least 25 percent of a business.

You can come to New Zealand to investigate investment opportunities once your application has been approved in principle.

Once your application is approved in principle you are eligible for a 12 month multiple entry work visa to come to New Zealand to investigate investment opportunities.

If applicable, your partner and children are eligible for multiple entry visitor’s visas for the same period. If your children wish to study during this period they will have to apply for a student visa and meet student policy.

A further 12 month multiple entry work visa is available if needed.

Employees of Relocating Businesses:

The objective of this category is to assist in promoting New Zealand as a place in which to invest and locate business and facilitates the granting of residence to employees of businesses relocating to New Zealand who do not qualify for residence under any existing categories. In order to qualify for residence under this category, applicants must demonstrate that they are a key employee of the business who would therefore be essential to the operation of the relocated business in New Zealand. Applicants are subject to the minimum standard of English criteria (either passing the IELTS English examination with an overall band score of 5.0). Applicants are also subject to the mandatory health and character requirements.

In addition to providing advice and preparing applications under the above mentioned standard categories for temporary entry and permanent residence to New Zealand, we also specialise in the more complicated legal processes such as appeals to the Residence Review Board, Removal Review Authority, Refugee Status Appeals Authority and direct appeals to the Minister of Immigration.

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