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Immigration Investor Category changes announced

16 June 2005

Immigration Investor Category changes announced

Immigration Minister Paul Swain today announced changes to the Investor Category to maximise the benefits to New Zealand.

The category, which allows people to gain residence on the condition they invest in New Zealand, has been operating in various forms since 1978.

Mr Swain said the rules had been tightened to make sure only genuine investors who will contribute long-term to the New Zealand economy and society gain residence.

"The changes bring the Investor Category into line with the Skilled Migrant Category, where applicants submit an expression of interest and the Department of Labour selects the best candidates.

"Rather than passively accepting applicants, investors will now be selected on the basis of what they can contribute to New Zealand," Mr Swain said.

The main points of the new policy, which has been developed over the past 18 months, are: The minimum amount to be invested has increased from $1 million to $2 million Funds will be transferred to a New Zealand bank account in the applicant's name for verification Funds will then be transferred to the government to invest in infrastructure projects for five years.

At the end of this period, applicants will receive their money back plus interest based on the rate of inflation Half of the funds can be withdrawn after two years and transferred to another government-approved investment Applicants must be 54 years or younger, with at least five years’ business experience, and willing to make New Zealand their main home by the end of the investment period Health, character and English language requirements have not changed.

Under the old policy, applicants were granted residence if they could reach a pass mark by accumulating points for business experience, the amount of funds brought into New Zealand and their age. Applicants falling short on the business experience and age criteria could compensate by bringing in more funds.

It was also difficult to verify that the investment was genuine. Applicants could put their money into any investment they chose and these often did not directly benefit New Zealand.

"The new policy will make sure applicants will be quality migrants with proven business experience and who will contribute to our economy and settle successfully," Mr Swain said.

Expressions of interest under the new Investor Category will be accepted from 4 July. The old category has now closed. Any applications already with the Department of Labour will be considered under the old policy.

ENDS

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