New Zealand is one of many countries ripe for foreign investment and foreign entrepreneurship. The country encourages involvement with international markets and companies. With its extensive list of attractive economic qualities, New Zealand could be the perfect place for you to incorporate your company or start investing.

First things first: when looking to do business in New Zealand, it’s essential to get a firm understanding of the visa system in the country. Once you understand all the options available to you, you can decide which visa application best suits you and your business needs.

We give an overview of the different visas New Zealand offers, their requirements, and the corresponding benefits of each one.

The Global Impact Visa

New Zealand’s government created the Global Impact Visa (GIV) in 2016 with the intent to incentivize the brightest and most innovative minds in the world to conduct and/or start their businesses in the country. This option involves collaboration from the Edmund Hillary Foundation (EHF) when approving applicants, and only allots 400 GIVs per year. This is a significant increase from the original 100 GIVs approved per year in 2016.

New Zealand’s Global Impact Visas make the country a hub for innovation.

Overall, a GIV grants global entrepreneurs three years in the country to create, develop, and launch business models which will have large scale global impacts. If the venture is successful, entrepreneurs may apply for permanent residency in New Zealand after the initial three years.

For the GIV, applicants must go through a two-stage process. Firstly, the individual and/or team must be accepted into the EHF program. Following acceptance, the applicants may then apply for the GIV. Approval for the actual visa is contingent upon a number of different factors:

  • Basis of acceptance into EHF program
  • English skills
  • Overall health
  • General character
  • And having sufficient funds to support self and the business.

Should you meet these requirements, approval of the GIV is based on the competitive environment surrounding the application. Given the scarce number of GIVs available, this makes the process highly competitive. If approved, entrepreneurs must pay NZ$2,000 and investors must pay NZ$8,000.

Benefits of the GIV

Overall, this particular type of visa offers a host of benefits because of its unique flexibility. Namely, the plan outlines the following:

  • No minimum number of days required in New Zealand
  • Businesses/entrepreneurs are not confined to one business plan
  • Additional visas for family members are available
  • Access to public health care
  • Access to public education (for children if applicable)
  • Flexibility to travel internationally.

Ideally, this is the visa option for most entrepreneurs and investors looking to run globalized, innovative businesses from New Zealand. The program, ease of application, and extensive benefits appeal to business people and investors all over the world. Ultimately, it’s proven to be effective in bringing groundbreaking ventures to New Zealand.

Investors looking for residency

Foreign investors can obtain residency if they plan to invest at least NZ$3 million.

New Zealand offers some unique visa opportunities for foreign investors that recognize the economic opportunities in the country. New Zealand’s government has the ‘Investor 2 Resident’ visa and the ‘Investor 1 Resident’ visa. Each one grants foreign investors a visa for residency which lasts for at least three years. While similar in terms of general structure, these applications differ in requirements and benefits.

The ‘Investor 2 Resident’ visa is for investors with a relatively small amount of money to invest in the country. The plan is tailored to business people planning to invest at least NZ$3 million over a four-year period. Requirements for visa-approval include at least 146 days spent in New Zealand for three out of the four-year investment period, minimum three years business experience, and fluency in English. Applicants must also be younger than 65 years old. Once approved, the applicant has twelve months to transfer assets to the designated investment.

The ‘Investor 1 Resident’ visa is for those planning to invest at least NZ$10 million over three years. This plan requires that the investor stay in New Zealand for 88 days over the three-year investment time period. Aside from the more relaxed residency requirement, Investor 1 Resident visa has no other requirements. This makes it appealing for investors who are over the age of 65, are not fluent in English, and/or do not have extensive business experience.

Entrepreneurship Visas

This visa is strictly for foreign entrepreneurs looking to launch their business in New Zealand. It establishes residency to the entrepreneur and legitimizes the business they have started. When applying, the visa has the following requirements:

  • Minimum investment of NZ$100,000 in the startup, excluding working capital
  • Clear business plan, which will followed closely even after the visa is approved
  • Clear recent history from bankruptcy, business failure, and fraud
  • Strong health of entrepreneur
  • Good character of entrepreneur
  • Comfortable communicating in English

If an applicant meets these requirements and their application is approved, they enter the ‘start-up stage.’ In this stage, applicants are granted a 12-month work visa. This enables foreigners the chance to get their business started.

After the year, entrepreneurs enter the ‘balance stage.’ This stage grants the remaining 24-months on the visa. Entrepreneurs only enter the ‘balance stage’ if they’ve demonstrated success in their first year of operations.

After two years of success, entrepreneurs may apply for the Entrepreneurship Resident Visa. This grants the foreign entrepreneur residency in New Zealand.

Is New Zealand your next destination for business?

New Zealand’s economic climate presents a wealth of opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. Anyone looking to expand into a lucrative, globalized market should strongly consider New Zealand as their starting point. Moreover, with the extensive visa options for foreign business people, the country is clearly welcome to foreign collaboration and investments.

Biz Latin Hub can help you navigate the legal and financial matters that come with incorporating a business abroad. Reach out to our team at [email protected] with questions or to start the process of globalizing your company.