New Zealand Immigration Visa
New Zealand is one of the youngest countries in the world, with the first settlers – the Maori – arriving barely 1,000 years ago. In fact, large-scale settlement by the Europeans only took place over the last 150 years. It is interesting to note that all New Zealanders are either immigrants, or descendants of immigrants. In spite of being a relatively small country, New Zealand has an incredible diversity of landscapes and wild life. The country’s easily accessible and beautiful countryside offers a wide range of leisure and lifestyle options.
While New Zealand’s economy has traditionally been based on agriculture, in recent years the country has developed a world-class, unrestrictive business environment. This exciting growth in New Zealand’s business market has led to a surge in employment and incomes, and has also given impetus to developments in technology. The new opportunities created have given rise to a need for skilled qualified personnel. With a population of only around four million, New Zealand is now actively promoting skilled immigration to fill labor shortages. Home to people from over 145 different countries, New Zealand is truly a multicultural society that welcomes and celebrates the richness and diversity of its people.
Types of Visa
- This option is meant for individuals who are suitably qualified and can become a valuable part of New Zealand’s workforce by helping sustain the country’s economic growth.
- Applicants must be under the age of 56 and must have a minimum of 100 points according to the points’ system. Applicants must also meet the health, character and English language prerequisites. An Expression of Interest can be lodged with Immigration New Zealand once these requirements have been met.
- Under the points’ system, points are awarded for an offer of employment in New Zealand, work experience, qualifications and age. Bonus points are given for employment in areas of identified future growth, cluster or absolute skill shortages. Bonus points are also awarded for employment outside Auckland and for New Zealand qualifications.
- Expressions of Interest received by Immigration New Zealand are pooled and then ranked according to specific selection criteria. Applications that meet the selection criteria are selected in sufficient numbers to meet the available places. These applicants are then invited to lodge an Application for Residence in New Zealand. All necessary documents to support the claims made in their Expression of Interest need to be provided.
- Following the introduction of the Skilled Migrant Category in 2003, applicants with skilled jobs in New Zealand or an offer of skilled employment prior to applying have a high probability of being selected and invited to apply for residence.
- This option is open to individuals who are exceptionally talented in the arts or in sports, or those who are qualified in a highly specialized or in-demand field.
- Such individuals can apply for a work permit and initially work temporarily in New Zealand.
- After working in New Zealand for two years, an application for permanent residence can be made.
- Applicants in this category must have a genuine offer of full-time, ongoing employment from a New Zealand accredited employer (a ‘pre-approved’ employer who requires skilled workers from overseas) with an annual base salary of at least NZ$ 50,000; or, the applicant must have sponsorship from a New Zealand arts, cultural or sporting organization.
- Applicants must be under the age of 56 at the time of application.
The spouse and family of the working partner each need to apply for separate visas.
- This option allows individuals who are already New Zealand residents or citizens to sponsor their immediate family.
- There are four sub-classes in the family class, as described below:
Partnership – Individuals above the age of 18 who are legally married to a New Zealand citizen or resident, or who are in a genuine and stable common law or same-sex relationship of at least 12 months duration may apply under this sub-class.
- Parent – Individuals who have an equal or greater number of children living in New Zealand than in any other country may apply for Permanent Residency under this sub-category. The child who will sponsor his/her parent must be over the age of 17, and must have been a New Zealand citizen/resident for over three years.
- Sibling/Adult child – Adults who have a parent or sibling who is a Permanent Resident or citizen of New Zealand can apply under this sub-category. The applicant must have no other siblings or parents in his/her current country of residence, and is required to have a suitable offer of employment in New Zealand.
- Dependent child – Children who have a parent in New Zealand, are aged 16 or less and are reliant on an adult for financial support, can apply under this sub-category.
Investors and Entrepreneurs
- Individuals with a proven business track record can apply for a visa under this category. Applicants should be enterprising and should have the capacity to build or invest in new businesses.
- Applicants must meet English language requirements, health, character, police and credibility checks, and certain additional criteria.
- The Long-term Business Visa/Entrepreneur (LTBV) visa pathway is a viable option for business owners, senior managers/company directors or applicants who have a successful history of self-employment or business ownership.
- Applicants must furnish a practical, well-researched business plan.There is no minimum capital or past business ownership requirement.
- Applicants must have sufficient funds and relevant experience in the field.
The business must create new employment opportunities for New Zealanders, increase foreign exchange earnings, revive an existing business in New Zealand, or introduce a new product, service or technology in country’s market place.
- The business must create new employment opportunities for New Zealanders, increase foreign exchange earnings, revive an existing business in New Zealand, or introduce a new product, service or technology in country’s market place.
- Two visa applications are required; (1) Firstly, for a long-term business visa for an initial period of nine months, during which the applicant can enter New Zealand and establish or purchase a business. (2) The second application is made for a further work permit for a maximum period of three years. This application is made once the visa officer is satisfied with the applicant’s efforts towards establishing a business during the initial nine-month period.
- The applicant can apply for Permanent Residence once the business has been successfully established in New Zealand for over two years, and meets certain customary norms.
- The Investor Class category has been replaced by a new category called the Active Investor Migrant category. This category has three sub-categories, as described below:
- The Global Investor is the first category, intended for high-value investors who can invest $20 million, with at least $5 million in active investments.
- The second priority category is that of Professional Investors, who are required to invest $10 million, with at least $2 million in active investments.
- The third category is for General (Active) Investors, wherein applicants are required to invest a minimum of $2.5 million. This category is points tested. Points are allocated on the basis of certain specified parameters, including prospective contribution to New Zealand business, entrepreneurship and management skills, etc.
- The major advantage of the Active Investor Migrant category is that there is no obligation to actively own and operate a business in New Zealand