13 June 2024

New investor migrant visa to open next month with minimum $5m investment

A new Active Investor Plus visa category to attract high-value investors to New Zealand opens next month.  

The new visa will replace the existing Investor 1 and Investor 2 visa categories and applications under these current categories will no longer be accepted after 27 July 2022. All applications in the current pipeline will continue to be processed by Immigration New Zealand.  

The new visa category will open 19 September 2022.

Eligibility criteria includes a minimum $5 million investment and encourages greater economic benefit to New Zealand companies by capping passive investment in listed equities to 50 per cent and excluding bonds and property.

These changes to New Zealand’s investor visa settings are part of the Government’s Immigration Rebalance strategy to attract experienced, high-value investors bringing growth opportunities to domestic businesses, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash and Immigration Minister Michael Wood announced today.

Highlights of the Active Investor Plus visa category are:

  • Incentivise direct investment through the weighting system, so that direct investments receive a 3x weighting per dollar invested.
  •  Have a minimum investment threshold of $15 million, or weighted equivalent (so applicants who want to make acceptable direct investments will be eligible with $5 million); with lower weightings for indirect investments such as private equity or venture capital funds (2x) and listed equities and philanthropy (1x).
  •  Improve flexibility for the investor by allowing investors to invest over a three-year investment period (and maintain their investments up to the end of a fourth year)
  • Require investor migrants to spend at least 117 days in New Zealand over the four-year investment period.
  •  Limit the scope for passive investment by capping investment in listed equities to 50 per cent of the total investments and not allow bonds and property to be eligible asset classes.

“We want to encourage active investment into New Zealand, which generates more high-skilled jobs and economic growth compared to passive investment. This new visa category will also leverage the skills, experience and networks of migrants who will bring their access to global networks and global markets to help Kiwi companies grow faster and smarter,” Stuart Nash said.

“Applicants who make acceptable direct investments, among other requirements, will be eligible for the new visa with a $5 million minimum investment and receive the highest rating which is a lower minimum amount than those who choose more indirect investments. The minimum amount required for indirect investments will be $15 million.

“We’re also improving the flexibility for the investor by allowing them to invest over a three-year period and maintain their investments up to the end of a fourth year. Investors will need to spend at least 117 days, or around a month a year, in New Zealand over the four-year investment period. This is increased from 88 days in the previous category in order to ensure that investors are actively getting hands on with local companies to help them grow.”

Eligibility criteria for each investment class will be confirmed shortly.

Meanwhile, the Green Party is calling for overhaul of ‘double standards’ in investor category to ensure that it is not used as a ‘residency for purchase’ by the wealthy few, and instead prioritises ethical investments and genuine contributions to our communities. 

“The Government is essentially maintaining its open door policy for the super wealthy, even as it makes it harder and harder for essential workers on low wages to come to New Zealand to put down roots,” says Ricardo Menéndez March, Green Party spokesperson for immigration.

“We urge Labour to put energy into reviewing the residency settings for underpaid professions such as nurses, decouple work visas from single employers and to create genuine pathways to residency for lower waged workers to create a more equitable immigration system,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.

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