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cabinet paper about the review of our Business policies has been released, announcing some important changes that may affect you.

What is changing?

  • Long Term Business Visa will be replaced with the newly-named Entrepreneur Work Visa from 24th March 2014
    • New points system will be introduced. Applicants will receive extra points for investing in the regions.
    • They will also require a minimum capital investment of $100,000 to ensure that they can create high growth and innovative businesses, ideally with export potential.
  • The current Long Term Business Visa was closed at 4pm New Zealand time on Friday20 December to prevent a surge in applications being made in the run up to the changes.
    • Applicants who have already lodged an application under the old policy can continue to be processed under that policy.
  • The Entrepreneur Plus Category will be disestablished
  • To ensure consistency, the Entrepreneur Category will be renamed the Entrepreneur Residence Visa.
  • There will be a fast-track provision for residence for applicants who have:
    • successfully established a business and run it for six months, and
    • invested at least $500,000 in it, and
    • created full-time ongoing employment for at least three New Zealanders.


What self-employed visa can I apply for between 20th December 2013 and 24th March 2014?

No self-employed work visa will be available for the period between the closure of Long Term Business Visa and opening of the new category. People who are interested in applying for a visa to start their own business in New Zealand are advised to put their efforts into market research and compiling a strong business plan that will have a good chance of being approved under the new category. People who want to visit New Zealand for market research or to source business opportunities may be able to get a visitor visa as a business visitor. Business visitor’s visas have a maximum period of three months. Holders of business visitor’s visas are not permitted to work in New Zealand.

Requirements for the new Entrepreneur Work Visa

The detailed criteria for the new visa are currently being drafted, and will go into effect in March 2014. The full details will be made public in February, to help business people and immigration advisers put together applications that will fit the aims of the new category.

The broad criteria for the new visa have been agreed and the new policy will:

  • Have a minimum $100,000 capital investment requirement, excluding working capital
  • Establish a new points-based system to actively assess intending business migrants and to choose those who can create high growth and innovative businesses, with points for:
    • business experience;
    • employment creation;
    • export potential;
    • innovation;
    • capital investment;
    • age;
    • a plan to invest outside of Auckland (migrants would also need to reside outside of Auckland); and
  • having undertaken market research, or having the endorsement of a chamber of commerce, an economic development agency, or any other relevant government agency.
  • Enable senior immigration staff to allow for discretion to waive the minimum capital requirement of $100,000, in exceptional cases, for applicants proposing to establish a science or ICT-based business, or other export-oriented sector, where it displays a high
    level of innovation or has credible short-term high growth prospects.
  • Clarify that applicants for a visa in the Entrepreneur Work Visa category may only submit a change in the business plan for their business once, and that changes must be minimal otherwise a new application will be needed.

Immigration Centre Team