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Business Immigration Policy exceeds expectations

The Business Immigration Policy offers a range of approaches to improve opportunities for business people wanting to move to New Zealand, the Minister of Immigration, Lianne Dalziel, said today.

She was responding to comments by David Besley, the New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment chairman, that the standards were too high and scaring prospective migrants away. "In my view, the policy should be able to prove itself first," she said.

Lianne Dalziel said that before the introduction of the policy, research showed that a lack of prior knowledge of the New Zealand business environment was one of the key barriers to business success for migrants. Another was the regulatory environment overseen by central and local government, such as the Resource Management Act requirements.

"Also before this policy was introduced, business application numbers had stagnated," Lianne Dalziel said.

The Business Immigration Policy was introduced on 1 March 1999 and provides for four categories of entry to New Zealand for potential business people. The four categories are investor, entrepreneur, long-term business visa and for businesses relocating to New Zealand.

For migrants on a long-term business visa, help is given from KPMG and the Wellington Chamber of Commerce to develop realistic business plans. "The policy offers a number of approaches and represents a fundamental shift aimed at addressing concerns about business investment failure," Lianne Dalziel said.

"The collaborative process of producing a business plan helps address problems before they arise."

Lianne Dalziel said applications under the long-term business visa policy exceeded all expectations. The Immigration Service originally thought it would receive about 150 applications a year.

"The Service has received 763 applications from the time since the policy was first introduced to the present day and that has led to some delays in processing applications."

She said those delays were being addressed. "The delays are not good enough and this may be driving the NZAMI's concerns. The rate of decline is actually quite low."

Of the 763 applications received, 211 have been approved and 53 declined. Lianne Dalziel said, however, the processing of 499 applications has yet to be completed. Of those approved, 84 were for investors, 14 entrepreneur, one for relocation of a business and 112 for long-term visitor visas.

"This policy will be evaluated once it has been in place for a reasonable period. Every indication is that putting this degree of effort into the front-end will pay off in the long run," Lianne Dalziel said.

ENDS

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