New Zealand has launched the Active Investor Plus visa
August 24, 2022
4 minutes read
The New Zealand authorities have decided to replace the current categories of Investor 1 and Investor 2 visas with Active Investor Plus. According to the spokesman of the state immigration service, the visa program for foreign investors was replaced in order to attract additional funds, which will contribute to the development of New Zealand companies. New Zealand Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said the new Active Investor Plus visa regime will help attract active and valuable migrants who will share international expertise and have a positive impact on economic growth.
Active Investor Plus is designed to replace two categories of visas, which had attracted predominantly passive investment in the country for 12 years. The new program is aimed primarily at encouraging direct investment in New Zealand businesses. It will be open for applications from September 19, 2022. Qualification requirements for the new category require direct investment of at least NZD 5 million (USD 3.1 million). There are also restrictions on passive investments in listed shares up to 50%, except for bonds and real estate.
To meet the minimum investment requirements, NZD 15 million must be invested in indirect investments, but to attract direct investments in businesses, this amount is three times less - NZD 5 million. This system approves a reduced ratio for indirect investments such as private equity or venture capital funds, as well as registered shares and charities. Active Investor Plus limits indirect investments in registered shares to 50%, and excludes bonds and real estate from eligible asset classes.
Acceptance of applications under the previous categories ceased on July 27, 2022. The New Zealand Immigration Service is committed to processing all pre-application requests: from candidates who have expressed an interest (EOI) and those who have already received an invitation to apply (ITA).
Expert comments on the sudden termination of previous categories of investment visas
New Zealand immigration advisor Marcel Bouyman said the sudden suspension of Investor 1 and Investor 2 caused applicants and immigration officers to urgently process applications for these categories. He said it was worthwhile to stop issuing EOIs in advance, which would have allowed for better compliance with ITAs already sent in.
The New Zealand Immigration Service was faced with unforeseen difficulties and a lot of work to comply with previous commitments. Some of the ITA applicants did not submit an already completed application because of the forced rush, seeing it as a signal of the unreliability of investing in New Zealand.
Additional requirements for investors
The new Active Investor Plus visa category allows you to invest over a three-year period with a mandatory requirement to maintain the investment during the fourth year. Investors must also stay in New Zealand for at least 117 days every four years. Under the previous programs, the mandatory residency period was 18 months over a four-year investment period.
The management of investors and investments will be transferred to the New Zealand Government Trade and Enterprise Agency. Eligibility criteria for each class of investment have not yet been confirmed. Visa issues will continue to be handled by the Immigration Department of the government.
An additional condition for the Active Investor Plus category is the compulsory knowledge of English. The investor must score at least 5 points according to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minister of Economic and Regional Development of New Zealand Stuart Nash said that this decision will allow candidates to exchange practical knowledge and take an active part in the development of the country's investment network.
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