Yun Jessica Meng, Licensed Immigration Adviser at IMME Limited, shares an overview of changes to the investor category requirements, spurred by issues outlines in the job briefing to the new Immigration minister.
In order to accelerate post-pandemic economic recovery, New Zealand is working out strategies regarding how to relax its investor immigration requirements and how to attract more international investments. On February 26, New Zealand Association of Immigration Professionals (NZAIP) organized both an offline seminar and a webinar simultaneously, where immigration officials share insights into how this could be implemented.
Actually, this discussion originated with Ardern’s administration being the first single-party majority government, and with the new Immigration Minister taking office last year. In November 2020, as a tradition, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) produced a government work report titled, “A Job Briefing for the Incoming Minister of Immigration”, to give some insights to its new leader who was not familiar with the situation.
It describes the achievements of its current work, challenges encountered, as well as what the key issues are that the new Minister needs to address. Some of the problems highlighted include:
- Reopening of borders: The border is planned to reopen in a safe and orderly way, to wider groups of people, which include highly skilled workers and investors, in light of supporting New Zealand’s economic recovery (page 5 of the briefing).
- Migrant entrepreneurs and investors support (New Zealand’s) economic development goals (page 16 of the briefing).
As for the job briefing, three other key issues were also discussed, which are to:
- improve the skill level of people being granted temporary and residence work visas.
- ensure the operations and financial situation for INZ – As a result of the travel restrictions, the volumes of temporary visa applications to New Zealand have decreased over 80%, and the third-party fees and levies received have dropped significantly.
- reduce migrant exploitation.
At present, to address the three problems above, the following policies have been introduced, or will be introduced shortly:
- Requirements regarding Skilled Migrant Category are likely to be raised to facilitate the selection of more skilled people to obtain New Zealand resident visas.
- To address the financial problems, the government has decided to close four of Immigration NZ overseas branches, including its Beijing office, from the end of March 2021. This also means that 329 INZ employees are being made redundant as a result of the decision.
- New employer-assisted work visa and employer accreditation policies will be introduced, aiming at reducing immigration exploitation.
Although the new Immigration Minister has made big changes, he did so within the scope as advised in the job briefing.
When we compare the solutions to the aforementioned three problems addressed in the job briefing, we have reason to believe or hope that the relaxation of immigration policy regarding Investor Category is not a rumour being circulated in a small professional group by immigration officials. This is even more true when we explore the changes of Business and Investor Visas which will be introduced in July 2021 in order to get the nation a better deal, at the other side of the Tasman Strait, Australia.
It is common sense that applicants under Investor Category can bring not only international investment capital but also new commercial models, science and technology innovations and the like. At least for my investor clients, they are top experts in each of their respective industries, in which New Zealand has little to no experience. If they set up their own business here, it would be a huge bonus for New Zealand, besides the investment money.
It offers New Zealand a new approach to integrate into international markets, besides the traditional Farming, Forestry, Animal Husbandry and Fishery. Meanwhile, international investors’ successful business models and proven technological innovations reduce uncertainty and unpredictability for the economy.
By the end of February 2021, there were 525 investor applications which are not allocated to a case officer, including 187 Investor Plus applications and 338 Investor applications, willing to invest at least $10 million and $3 million, respectively.
Once the requirements are relaxed, the applications will be accumulated significantly which will cause considerable processing stress to the Investor Team of INZ and the LIAs focusing on this field.
 Tom Hunt, “NZ Immigration officials targeting rich overseas immigrants through pandemic” (20 February 2021) https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/124283436/nz-immigration-officials-targeting-rich-overseas-immigrants-through-pandemic?fbclid=IwAR19t-rV6pjd0-hLnDnVcgmau3PRAIXn3CcLKOQ16tJE6fCSvIf1pKBmAe.
About the author:
Yun (Jessica) Meng
LICENSED IMMIGRATION ADVISER / ARBITRATOR (Xiamen Arbitration Commission)
GDNZIA (Toi Ohomai), LLM (Xiamen Uni), LLB (Cupl)
Focus on New Zealand Investor Category visas, serving clients including the founder families of companies listed in Major Global Stock Markets, such as Nasdaq in the United States, A-share market in Mainland China and ASX share market in Australia.
Connect with Yun here: http://www.immegrationz.com/index.php/contact/