INVEST IN BUSINESS*
YEARS TO INVEST
New Zealand’s Entrepreneur Work visa is a pathway for prospective business people and entrepreneurs wanting to establish a new business, or buy an existing one, in New Zealand. Entrepreneur Work visa holders can apply for permanent residence after a period of either 6 months or 2 years, depending on factors such as the amount invested and number of jobs created by the business.
Entrepreneur Work visa applicants must meet several eligibility requirements, these include:
- Having a minimum of NZ $100,000 of investment capital to invest in the business, unless waived (see below for more information)
- Having a viable business plan (see below for more information)
- Scoring at least 120 points on the Entrepreneur Work Visa points scale, found here (link)
- Not having been declared bankrupt, or having been involved in a business failure such as insolvency, in the last 5 years
- Having no record of business-related fraud or impropriety
- Being of good health and character
- Meeting the English language requirement, this means having English language background or proficiency, such as citizenship of an English speaking country, or:
- A recent (less than 2 years old) certificate showing an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test score of 4 or more, or;
- Other proof of English proficiency, such as holding a University degree that was taught in English
Applicants must have a minimum of NZ $100,000 available to invest in their business. These funds must be solely owned by the applicant and/or their parter or spouse. Applicants cannot use borrowed or loaned funds to meet this requirement.
The investment capital requirement can be waived at the discretion of New Zealand’s Bushiness Migration Branch. Only business in computing, science, and some high-value export industries can be considered for a waiver.
Applicants must provide a relevant and up to date business plan, which must be specifically tailored to the business they want to establish or buy. The business plan must demonstrate that:
- They have the required investment capital and maintenance funds for the applicant and any family members joining them in New Zealand
- The applicant has sufficient and appropriate business experience
- Sufficient market and business research has been done
- The plan’s financial forecasts are realistic
- The applicant has any relevant professional registration required for their business in New Zealand
- The applicant has not been declared bankrupt, or been involved in a business failure such as insolvency, in the last 5 years
- The applicant has no record of business-related fraud or impropriety
- The business is likely to be a high growth enterprise that will benefit New Zealand by providing jobs, growth, and/or export opportunities
Additionally business plans relating to the purchase of an existing business must:
- Include the purchase price of the existing business, and evidence of the business’s past performance and financial potential, such as financial records or an independent financial evaluation
- Information the business’s current employees, such as employment agreements, and wage and tax records
Start-Up and Balance stages
The Entrepreneur Work visa is initially issued for a Start-Up stage of 12 months, which allows applicants to buy or establish their business. Once applicants have taken the necessary steps towards buying or establishing their business they can move on to the Balance stage of their visa, which grants another 24 months – adding up to a total of 3 years.
In order to move from the Start-Up stage to the Balance stage applicants must demonstrate that they have taken the necessary steps towards buying or establishing their business, such as:
- Transferring their business-related capital to New Zealand
- Providing documents relating to the business’s establishment, purchase, and running, such as:
- A certificate of Incorporation
- Purchase or rental documents for the business site
- Invoices for business materials and equipment
- Employment agreements and pay slips
After a set period Entrepreneur Work visa holders can apply for permanent residence under the Entrepreneur Residence scheme. This option becomes available after either 6 months or 2 years:
- 2 years: Applicants who have successfully established or purchased their business in New Zealand and have been employed by the business for a minimum of 2 years may then apply residence.
- 6 months: Applicants who invest at least NZ $500,000 in their business and employ a minimum of 3 native New Zealanders on a full time basis can apply for residence after just 6 months.