If you want to run your own business in New Zealand you will have to apply for a business visa, an Entrepreneur Visa.
What are the Key Benefits for applicants under the Entrepreneur Policies?
There are a number of advantages for applicants who choose to apply for an Entrepreneur Work Visa in comparison to other visa types:
- You can either buy an existing business or set one up from scratch
- You can chose a business that matches your entrepreneurial background
- Your business can be located anywhere in New Zealand
- You will not have to find a job .
- Relatively low minimum investment of NZ$100.00 required
- Minimum investment can be waived
- Your partner will obtain an open Work Visa that entitles him/her to work for any business in New Zealand
- Your partner can also be self employed
- Primary and secondary school children will be classified as domestic students, so that high international student fees can be avoided
- No age limit
- Relatively low English language requirements.
The process: Your way to residence in New Zealand will be in two steps, from a three year work visa to your residence visa.
Step One: The Entrepreneur Work Visa
To apply for an Entrepreneur Work Visa you will have to
- establish a business or buy a business that suits your expectations and experience
- write a business plan which will satisfy Immigration New Zealand
- prepare and lodge your Entrepreneur Work Visa application according to New Zealand immigration law requirements.
Step Two: The Entrepreneur Residence Visa
After you have run your business successfully for at least two years, you can apply for a Entrepreneur Residence Visa.
There is a fast track option: You can apply after six months, provided you have invested at least NZ $ 500,000 in your business and created at least three full time jobs for New Zealanders (investment and employment must be maintained for two years).
In short, these are the key requirements for step one, the Entrepreneur Work Visa:
- A minimum capital investment of NZ$100,000 (unless this requirement is waived)
- You must meet a minimum of 120 points for factors relating to the likely success of your proposed business and its value to New Zealand
- You must have a business plan specific to your proposed business
- You must not have been involved in bankruptcy or business failure, business fraud or financial impropriety
- You must meat health, character and English language requirements.
How does this visa process work and what are the requirements?
The Entrepreneur Work Visa
This is a three year work visa consisting of two stages, the Start-up stage and the Balance stage.
Once your Entrepreneur Work Visa has been approved by Immigration New Zealand, you will be given an initial visa for 12 months which will enable you to travel to New Zealand and buy or establish your business.
After 12 months you will have to demonstrate that you have commenced the business operation as stated in your business plan.
Within the validity of your start-up stage visa, you will have to convince a business migration specialist at Immigration New Zealand that the investment capital for the proposed business has been transferred to New Zealand through the banking system from you bank account as stated in your business plan.
You will also have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the business migration specialist that you have taken reasonable steps to establish the business as set out in your approved business plan.
Acceptable evidence for having started your business can be
- documents showing the set up of your business
- documents showing the purchase or lease for the business site
- invoices for equipment and supplies
- employment agreements
- bank statements
The remaining 24 months of your three year Entrepreneur Work Visa are called Balance stage.
You will be granted this visa once the Business Migration Branch is satisfied that you have taken all necessary steps as described above.
The Entrepreneur Residence Visa
To secure your residence status in New Zealand you will have to apply for an Entrepreneur Residence Visa on completion of your Entrepreneur Work Visa stage.
The Requirements for an Entrepreneur Work Visa:
You must be able to invest a minimum of NZ$100,000 in your proposed business and you have to demonstrate that these funds are owned by you or by you and your partner. If you own the funds with your partner, your partner must support your application and the business.
Investment funds cannot be borrowed. You will have to provide evidence that they have been earned or acquired legally.
In some cases the minimum capital investment requirement can be waived. However, only members of the management team at the Business Migration Branch are entitled to make that decision.
A waiver can be considered if your proposed business is in science, ICT, or other export areas, which will bring a high level of innovation to New Zealand and have short term high growth prospects.
You must reach a minimum of 120 points on the points scale of this policy and demonstrate to the satisfaction of a business immigration specialist why you should be awarded the points you have claimed in your application.
The point scale reflects likely success of your proposed business and its value to New Zealand.
Check for yourself whether you will be able to claim a minimum of 120 points.
Points for Business Experience (can be awarded in only one category)
Relevant Self Employment
10 years + 40
5 years +30
3 years +20
OR: Other Self Employment
10 years + 20
5 years + 15
3 years + 5
OR: Relevant Senior Management Experience
10 years + 10
5 years + 5
Points for Benefit to New Zealand (can be awarded in up to two categories)
New full time employment creation
10 plus new full time positions for New Zealand citizens or residents 80
5 new full time positions for New Zealand citizens or residents 50
3 new full time positions for New Zealand citizens or residents 30
2 new full time positions for New Zealand citizens or residents 20
1 new full time position for New Zealand citizen or resident 10
Points for approved export business (based on annual turnover)
NZ$ 1,000,000 plus turnover 80
NZ$ 750,000 plus turnover 60
NZ$ 500,000 plus turnover 40
NZ$ 400,000 plus turnover 30
NZ$ 300,000 plus turnover 20
NZ$ 200,000 plus turnover 10
Points for unique or new products or services to New Zealand
A credible business proposal that provides unique or new products or services to New Zealand or to a particular region. 30
Points for Capital Investment (excluding working capital)
NZ$ 1,000,000 80
NZ$ 750,000 60
NZ$ 500,000 50
NZ$ 400,000 30
NZ$ 300,000 20
NZ$ 200,000 10
NZ$ under 200,000 0
Points for Age
24 and under 15
60 and over 0
Business outside Auckland 40
The Business Plan
You will have to submit a comprehensive and convincing business plan to the Business Branch at Immigration New Zealand, which will be very carefully examined by the business experts of the branch.
The business plan must be no older than three months and it must contain all the necessary evidence to explain and support your proposed business. It constitutes the core of your Entrepreneur Visa application and great care needs to be taken to cover all necessary aspects to ensure that your application satisfies immigration requirements.
Your business plan must cover all financial aspects of your future business, including evidence of sufficient investment and maintenance funds, a cash flow forecast etc.
You will have to demonstrate that you have undertaken comprehensive market research in New Zealand and that you have the business experience required for running a business in that specific area.
In your business plan you will also have to build a convincing argument that your business is going to contribute to New Zealand`s economic growth by enabling experienced business people to grow or establish high growth and innovative businesses with export potential.
Health, character and English language requirements must also be met.