Migrant investor changes to open doors


The government’s relaxation of immigration rules for wealthy investors has been described as “timely and smart”. On Tuesday, Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman announced changes making it easier for rich investors and entrepreneurs to get residency by lowering thresholds for entry. Those who are willing to invest $10 million could get residency within three years without any English skills or business experience, and no age limit. As part of their residency that have to remain in New Zealand for 20% of every year. Previously, investors required $20 million for four years with four years business experience. The rule changes also set a lower threshold for those investors willing to invest $1.5 million. They could get residency based on their investment though they have to meet language and age requirements and have business experience. Previously, the requirement was a $2.5 million investment.

Investors also have to remain in New Zealand for 40% of every year and have $1 million in settlement funds.
Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Barnett says the changes are a timely and smart move.

“Overseas business migrants with the ability to bring capital into New Zealand need constraints removed,” he says.
David Cooper, operations manager of immigration consultancy Malcolm Pacific, says the changes might help turn the tap back on for money from China.

He does not think a lack of English would be a problem for people with $10 million because they could hire translators.

Investment management specialist Tim Howe of Ocean Partners also believes the new rules will go some way to enticing wealthy investors.

Kim Saull, vice president of the Association for Migration and Investment, says the changes to the threshold for the upper tier of investors will make a difference, not necessarily because the amount of money required has been reduced, but because the removal of language requirements and age limit will “open the doors”.

But he believes changes to the second tier investment threshold is “the clincher”, particularly the lifting of the age limit to 65.

“The sort of people that we’re looking at are generally people who are close to or just retired, who are looking to move and bring with them a significant amount of money. That lifting, I think, will make the difference, and bring in a lot more people,” he says.

Changes to the policy take effect immediately.