New Zealand has business and investment opportunities in traditional and new business sectors, a well-educated and flexible workforce, and a Government actively promoting growth and innovation with a range of business and migrant- friendly policies.
As residence opportunities in other categories are discontinued or on pause, investment visas can offer a route to residence that bypasses the need for a job offer and associated evidential requirements. Some migrants are able to meet the investment threshold by liquidating the assets they have in their home country and bringing this to NZ. These investment visas enable people to gain residence by investing into a New Zealand business or other acceptable investments.
New Zealand’s Exciting New Visa Category
On 19 September 2022, a new visa category opened for applications called Active Investor Plus (AI+). It replaces the existing investor categories* (Investor 1 and 2). This new category aims to attract skilled, experienced, and high-value investors to New Zealand.
AI+ requires a higher investment amount & also has additional requirements such as the ability to meet English language requirements.
These applications are managed across Immigration New Zealand (who will make immigration decisions on applications and decide if investors meet their visa conditions) and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) (who will advise which investments are acceptable and provide support services to investors).
To learn more about this visa category, contact us directly.
Acceptable Direct Investments and their weighting
This visa category aims to encourage investment into New Zealand that will benefit our economy or generate positive social and environmental impacts.
The Active Investor Plus visa will use a weighting system to encourage direct investment and attract active investor migrants who will help New Zealand’s economy grow.
You must invest a total of $15 million (about US $8.5 million at the time of writing) or a “weighted equivalent” of a combination of these asset classes:
- Direct investment – 3x weighting – $5 million = $15 million
- Managed funds – 2x weighting – $7.5 million = $15 million
- Philanthropy and listed equities – no weighting.
You can only invest up to $7.5 million in either philanthropy or listed equities.
Depending on the type of active investment, the weighting system is:
- 1x – listed equities and philanthropy (each capped at NZ $7.5 million)
- 2x – managed funds
- 3x – direct investments
For example, when the 3x weighting is applied to a direct investment, NZ $5 million invested will be recognised as delivering NZ $15 million in visa eligibility value.
Other changes to note
With this visa, you can invest over three years (and maintain your investments up to the end of a fourth year). However, it is essential to realise that all the funds you want to invest must come with you into New Zealand at the outset. Once you have an “Approval in Principle” letter for your visa application, you will have six months to transfer the entire sum into a mix of either holding or acceptable investments. These six months can be extended to a year in certain circumstances.
- You will need to spend a minimum of 117 days in New Zealand during those four years.
- The government will limit passive investment by capping listed equities.
- You must have strong English skills (written and spoken) to hold an Active Investor Plus visa. That means you must have IELTS level 5 or equivalent.
Defining The “Asset Classes”
This means buying into NZ companies. Apart from a couple of exceptions, you can only take shares in exchange-listed businesses if:
- you’re a wholesale investor (i.e., your main business is investment), or,
- if your assets or turnover exceeded $NZ5 million in the previous two years.
If you’re not a wholesale investor, your options are more limited. You can only invest in businesses that NZTE has vetted using specific criteria. NZTE defines these businesses as “investee entities”. These companies or other structures are businesses that are not listed on any stock exchange.
NZTE will identify such entities in the coming weeks and months.
NZTE will start to create a list of managed investment schemes and discretionary investment management services that it defines as ‘acceptable’ (with published criteria) in November 2022.
This means registered charities showing at least two years of annual returns. Important. Only some organisations that claim to be charities genuinely have this status. The only legal way an organisation can call itself a charity is if Inland Revenue has awarded it charitable status.
Directly: this means having shares in a company listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. Indirectly means through a managed fund that offers a portfolio of listed company shares.
Important. There are limitations.
- A maximum of $7.5 million is allowed under Listed Equities.
- Only 20% of your Listed Equities shares can be held in businesses involved in property ownership, management, or development.
*The Active Investor Plus visa replaces the previous Investor 1 and Investor 2 categories, which closed in July 2022. Immigration New Zealand will continue to process all applications in progress when those categories closed.