The New Zealand immigration minister Michael Woodhouse has announced that his department is to scrap the Long-Term Business Visa and introduce a new visa, the Entrepreneur Work Visa, to replace it. The new visa will assess applicants using a points-based test and require them to invest NZ$100,000.
Mr Woodhouse says that he hopes that the new scheme will 'encourage business-savvy migrants to invest, settle and create jobs across the country'. He said that he was scrapping the Long-Term Business Visa because it had 'attracted a large number of low-quality applications'.
Mr Woodhouse announced that eligibility for the new Entrepreneur Work Visa would be calculated by assessing applicants against a points-based system which he said would 'result in higher quality, more productive businesses'.
NZ wants to attract entrepreneursImmigration New Zealand released a statement saying that it was seeking to encourage businesses that would be more beneficial to the New Zealand economy. It says that it particularly wants to attract entrepreneurs who will establish businesses that 'bring in new technology; employ New Zealanders; support effective domestic competition; and [have] good growth prospects'.
Immigration New Zealand added that 'ideally, the business would also create exportable products and services that do not already exist in our market'. It is hoped that the points-based test will enable Immigration New Zealand to better select candidates who will create businesses that benefit the New Zealand economy the most.
Mr Woodhouse announced that applicants will be awarded more points if their plan involves settling outside the populous Auckland region. Auckland is New Zealand's largest city, located towards the north of North Island. It has a population of about 1,500,000 out of a total national population a little over 4m.
Financial requirements may be waivedApplicants under the new visa scheme will not only have to score adequate points, they will also have to commit at least NZ$100,000 (US$82,500, £50,400) to their businesses. Immigration New Zealand says that it may waive this requirement in circumstances where such an investment is not necessary.
It says that applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis where 'a business model [does] not require such an investment (ie a web-based IT start-up)'.
The Long-Term Business Visa stream was for business people to stay and set up businesses in New Zealand. Applicants under this scheme were also required to submit a business plan. This was assessed and successful applicants were then granted an initial nine month visa to allow them to establish themselves in New Zealand.
New visa to be introduced in March 2014Providing that the plan remained on course, applicants were allowed to extend their visas' duration to four years. Thereafter they could apply for permanent residence.
The Long-Term Business Visa stream will close on 20th December. The new Entrepreneur Visa will open in March 2014.
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