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The changes are aimed at encouraging investors to invest in growth investments and delivering greater economic benefits for New Zealand.

The changes include:

  • Doubling the funds Investor 2 migrants must invest to $3 million
  • Removing the need for Investor 2 migrants to hold $1 million in settlement funds
  • Recognising higher levels of business experience and English language skills through changes in the points system
  • Increasing the annual cap of approved Investor 2 migrants from 300 to 400.
  • Rewarding investment in growth-oriented investment with incentives such as bonus points, priority processing, and a financial discount.

Further detail about the changes and how they will affect current and potential applicants is available in our questions and answers.

Minister of Immigration’s media release

What is the Investor Programme and how does it work?

The Migrant Investor programme is a residence policy for people who wish to live permanently in New Zealand.   It comprises of Investor 1 (those who have a minimum of NZ$10million to invest) and Investor 2 (those who have a minimum of NZ$1.5 million to invest).

A person who wishes to apply for residence under the investor 2 Category must first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to Immigration New Zealand, claiming points for factors such as business experience, age and English language competency. Immigration New Zealand does a fortnightly draw selecting EOIs based on the points claimed, then invites people with sufficient points to apply.

What are the changes to the Investor 1 category?

The minimum investment will remain unchanged at $10m.  However, an Investment of 25% in growth-oriented investments (equity, commercial property, new residential builds, managed funds) will mean Investor 1 migrants can spend their required time in NZ more flexibly.   Specifically, 88 days over three years.  Additionally, Investor 1 applicants will be able to invest up to 15% of their nominated investment funds in acceptable philanthropic investments.

What are the changes to the Investor 2 category?

Policy changes to the Investor 2 category include:

  • Increasing the minimum investment funds required from $1.5 million to $3 million
  • Removing the need for $1million to be held for ‘settlement’ funds
  • Adding 20 bonus points for investing a minimum 25% of funds in growth investments
  • Increasing the annual cap of approved Investor 2 migrants from 300 to 400.
  • Adjusting points for age, business experience and English language.
  • Providing flexibility with the time required in New Zealand if migrants invest 25% of their funds in ‘growth’ investments by allowing them to spend 438 days over four years (rather than requiring 146 days in each of years two, three and four.
  • Allowing up to 15% of investment funds to be made in acceptable philanthropic investments
  • Immigration New Zealand will also ‘prioritise’ Investor 2 migrants who intend to place 25 per cent or more of their funds in growth investments.

How are Investor 2 points changing?

The Investor 2 points system operates with an Expression of Interest process where Investors submit an Expression of Interest which is ranked based on points allocated for the amounts of funds, level of business experience, age and English language competency. The highest-ranked Expressions of Interest are drawn from the pool fortnightly, and those migrants who have been successful are then invited to apply for residence.  There is no change to the minimum points required to submit an Expression of Interest.  The key changes to the points that can be claimed are:

  • Reward applicants with a higher level of English competency (with additional points for IELTS scores above level 5),
  • Streamline the points for age
  • Increase points awarded for more business experience.
  • Award 20 bonus points for investing a minimum 25% of funds in growth investments.

Points schedule from May 2017 PDF 93KB

What are growth investments?

Growth investments are all ‘acceptable investments’ as defined in immigration instructions except for:

  1. Investment in bonds, and
  2. Philanthropic investment

For managed funds, Business Migration Branch will look at what types of investments are managed in the fund to determine the proportion of growth investment.  For example, a fund which places half of its funds into bonds and the other half into shares would be recognised as having a 50% investment in growth orientated funds.

What are acceptable philanthropic investments?

Philanthropic investments can now make up 15% of acceptable investments.  Investors are able to donate in any area.  The policy will recognise donations to the following types of organisations:

  • Registered charities: with a track record (ie. They have provided annual returns of at least two years) and with IRD donee status.
  • Not for profit organisations: providing social, cultural or economic benefits for NZ, and as approved by the Immigration Operations Manager.

What if I’ve already applied under the Investor 1 category at the time the policy comes in?

In order to be assessed on the eligibility to receive the benefits of investing in growth investments under the new policy (i.e. increased flexibility around time in New Zealand requirements) you should contact Business Migration Branch who will assess your total investments, the growth investment and the existing Visa conditions. Eligibility is assessed on a case by case basis.

What if I’ve already applied under the Investor 2 category at the time the new policy comes in?

When the policy changes, Investor 2 applicants will have the option to withdraw and relodge their application under the new policy. Those who take up the offer will have the fee waived on their subsequent application and will retain the same place in the processing queue.  Each applicant will need to carefully consider whether the new or the old policy is best for them.

I put in an expression of interest in which I claimed enough points to be selected under the old threshold, but from 1 May I won’t meet the selection criteria. What can I do?

If your EOI has not been selected and remains in the pool at implementation of the new policy, you have the option to submit an expression of interest under the new policy.  If you chose to do so, the EOI fee will be waived.  If you choose not to, your old EOI will remain in the pool until it expires 6 months from the date your original EOI was lodged, but will not be able to be selected.

Can I still submit an Expression of Interest?

All Expressions of Interest received up until the last draw held on the day before implementation of the new policy will be assessed under the current instructions.  From May 2017 all new EOIs must be on the new form.

When will the detail of the new policy be available?

The detail of the policy (the immigration instructions) is being worked on currently. It is likely to be approved by the Minister of Immigration by the end of March 2017.