New visa category created for 'high-value' investors

Source: 1News

The Government is changing up investor visa requirements, creating a new category and scrapping two current pathways.

Traveller arriving at Auckland International Airport from overseas (file picture).

Economic Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said the Active Investor Plus visa "will attract active and high-value migrants who will bring their international expertise to help New Zealand businesses to grow, which increases local employment and directly benefits the economy".

He said the old investment visa categories attracted over $12 billion but "often resulted in passive investment in shares and bonds rather than directly into New Zealand companies, meaning a missed opportunity to attract more active investors who can deliver real benefits to our economy over a long period of time".

"Investors secure an opportunity to invest in smart and innovative New Zealand businesses that have the potential to be globally successful, and Kiwi businesses gain valuable skills, connections, and capital. This will make New Zealand more competitive in the international marketplace and take our businesses to the next level."

People will need a minimum investment threshold of $15 million, or the weighted equivalent, which could see people eligible if they intended to make direct investments of $5m.

It will also tighten some requirements, not allowing bonds or property to be eligible asset classes and capping investments in listed equities to 50% of total investments.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood said people who who make "acceptable direct investments... will be eligible for the new visa with a $5 million minimum investment and receive the highest rating which is a lower minimum amount than those who choose more indirect investments".

"We’re also improving the flexibility for the investor by allowing them to invest over a three-year period and maintain their investments up to the end of a fourth year.

They will need to spend at least 117 days in New Zealand over four years.

"This is increased from 88 days in the previous category in order to ensure that investors are actively getting hands on with local companies to help them grow," Wood said.

The new visa category will replace the Investor 1 and 2 categories, opening up in September.

The Investor 1 Resident Visa enabled people with $10 million to invest in New Zealand over a three-year period to apply for residency and bring their family. Investor 2 allowed selected business people with a minimum of $3m to invest in funds or assets to send in an expression of Interest and then be invited by Immigration NZ for them and their family to apply for residence. Both categories required proving investments in Ne Zealand within 12 months.

Green Party immigration spokesperson Ricardo Menéndez March accused the Government of "essentially maintaining its open door policy for the super wealthy, even as it makes it harder and harder for essential workers on low wages to come to New Zealand to put down roots".

"We urge Labour to put energy into reviewing the residency settings for underpaid professions such as nurses, decouple work visas from single employers and to create genuine pathways to residency for lower waged workers to create a more equitable immigration system.

“The double standards present in the current approach do not reflect the values of most New Zealanders and speak to a growing divide in our immigration system."

Menéndez March said instead ethical investments and "genuine contributions" to communities should be prioritised.