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Business visa changes to create jobs & growth

Business visa changes to create jobs & growth

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has announced a new business visa policy to encourage migrants to set up high-quality businesses in New Zealand to help create local jobs and support economic growth.
“New Zealand needs to attract talented, enterprising, well-connected business people to invest and grow businesses in New Zealand,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“That’s why a new Entrepreneur Work Visa will replace the current Long-Term Business Visa, which has not been significantly changed since 1999 and has attracted a large number of low-quality applications.

“The Entrepreneur Work Visa will operate under a new points-based system that will result in higher quality, more productive businesses.

“It will also encourage business-savvy migrants to invest, settle, and create jobs across the country, by offering extra points for expanding or starting businesses outside of the Auckland region.”

Points will also be offered for criteria including job creation, export potential, and business experience. A minimum capital investment of $100,000 will also be required to ensure applicants have the means to create high growth and innovative businesses.

“This is an ambitious new policy that will raise the bar and encourage innovative, export focused businesses, while again demonstrating a commitment to the regions.

“These changes are designed to attract talented, entrepreneurial migrants who can invest in our communities, grow profitable businesses, and create jobs for New Zealanders around the country.”

Questions and Answers

Why do we have business migration policies?

Business migration policies provide a point of difference to other mechanisms for bringing people with experience of running their own business into New Zealand. As well as supplying capital, both policies can also bring in people with new ideas, entrepreneurial flair, overseas networks, and business experience.

Have the policies been successful?

The policies currently attract over 500 migrants per year, who come to New Zealand to gain residence through establishing or expanding a business. These policies have the potential to better contribute to New Zealand’s economic development and support the Business Growth Agenda.

Why were the policies reviewed?

Business migration policies, for people seeking to establish a business, have not been extensively reviewed since 1999 so a review was needed to ensure they are working as well as possible. The review has shown that business migrants can bring to New Zealand considerable commercial expertise and access to global commercial networks. But the review has found that the policies can be improved to attract even more high-calibre migrants who can make a significant contribution to the economy. The changes are designed to ensure that migrants know that there is a pathway in place to those coming to New Zealand to set up a productive business.

How would you define a successful migrant business?

A successful migrant business would have a combination of some or all of the following: is innovative; brings in new technology; employs New Zealanders; supports effective domestic competition; and has good growth prospects. Ideally, the business would also create exportable products and services that do not already exist in our market.

Why are you introducing a points system and a minimum capital investment of $100,000 for the new Entrepreneur Work Visa?

The review found that a significant number of businesses created under the Long Term Business Visa had limited export growth potential. The introduction of a points system and a minimum capital investment figure of $100,000 are designed to ensure that successful applicants can create high growth and innovative businesses with export potential. However, exemptions are possible on a case-by-case basis should a business model not require such an investment (ie a web-based IT start-up). A points system also ensures that policy criteria are clear and transparent.

Why will points be offered for businesses outside of the Auckland region?

It’s well known that Auckland attracts a large share of new migrants each year. By incentivising potential applicants to consider investing and starting businesses in regions around New Zealand, it helps share the benefits of newly created jobs and investment across the country.

What are you doing to make it easier to apply under these policies?

INZ is developing an online eligibility calculator on its website to enable prospective applicants to assess their likelihood of success before committing to an application. It’s essential that prospective applicants have all the information they need at their disposal so they know exactly what they’ve got to do.

When will the current Long Term Business Visa category close and the new policies come into effect?

The LTBV category will close on Friday 20 December. The new Entrepreneur visa policies will open in March 2014.


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