Published on: January 23rd, 2022
By: المستشار ماهر الديري


Entrepreneur visas to New Zealand

If you’re an experienced businessperson interested in being self-employed in your own business, our entrepreneur visas could be for you.
Most people start out on Entrepreneur Work Visa, which allows you to move to New Zealand and buy or establish a business. After either six months or two years, you can then apply for residence under the Entrepreneur Residence Category.

Entrepreneur Work Visa

This three-year work visa is structured in two stages:

  • Start-up stage: If your application is approved, you will initially be given a 12-month work visa, enabling you to buy or establish your business in New Zealand.
  • Balance stage: Once you have proven that you have taken steps to establish your business, you’re granted the remaining 24 months of your visa.

Requirements for this visa include:

  • minimum capital investment of NZ$100,000 (excluding working capital)
  • 120 points or more, with points awarded for factors about the likely success of the business and its value to New Zealand
  • clear business plan
  • clean recent history of bankruptcy, business failure and fraud
  • health, character and English language requirements.

Residence for entrepreneurs

The Entrepreneur Residence Category allows you to live in New Zealand permanently if you have established a high growth and innovative business with export potential in New Zealand. There are two ways of qualifying for residence under this policy:

  • Entrepreneur Residence Category (2 years) – Requires you to have successfully established or purchased a business in New Zealand and have been self-employed in that business for at least two years, and for your business to have significantly benefited New Zealand.
  • Entrepreneur Residence Category (6 months) – This option provides a faster track to residence if you have invested at least NZ$500,000 in your business and have created a minimum of three new full-time jobs for New Zealand citizens or residents.

Under both options, you need to meet health, character and English language requirements.

Family is included

Partners and dependent children can be granted work and student visas if they are accompanying the holder of an Entrepreneur Work Visa to New Zealand. They can also be included in an Entrepreneur Residence Visa application.

Global Impact Visa (GIVs)

If you’re a high-impact entrepreneur or investor looking to create scalable, positive global impact, our new Global Impact Visa (GIVs) could be for you.

Immigration New Zealand has partnered with the Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) to deliver this innovative new visa, designed to attract talented and visionary entrepreneurs, investors and start-up teams with the drive and capabilities to create innovation-based ventures in New Zealand.

The Fellowship is a 3-year programme that provides up to 400 impact-driven entrepreneurs, investors and start-up teams with a platform to incubate global impact ventures from New Zealand.

There are two stages to the application process:

  • Submit an application, and be accepted into, the Edmund Hillary Fellowship
  • Apply for a Global Impact Visa.

The Edmund Hillary Fellowship

Before you can apply for a Global Impact Visa you must be accepted into the Edmund Hillary Fellowship. The Fellowship selection process occurs twice a year, after which successful applicants will be sent a Letter of Offer and invited to apply for a Global Impact Visa.

Participation in the programme provides Fellows with:

  • Access to a supportive local and global network of investors, advisors, partners and mentors
  • A community of visionary entrepreneurial leaders and a diverse group of Fellows in each cohort
  • Connection to centres of excellence in different regions of New Zealand
  • Regular events, demo days, retreats learning and sharing opportunities, and a platform to tell your story
  • Help to identify the best integration support for yourself and immediate family
  • Access to investment and scaling opportunities in NZ and overseas
  • Access to top talent, universities, accelerators and incubators, policy makers, investment and Research & Development grants.

The Fellowship has 100 places available each year for international candidates, and will also accept up to 20 New Zealand entrepreneurs and investors every year.

Global Impact Visa (GIVs)

Once nominated for acceptance into EHF, candidates are invited to apply for a Global Impact Visa to live and work in New Zealand, on a three-year open work visa.

Requirements for this visa include:

  • A Letter of Offer from EHF
  • NZ$36,000 maintenance funds to support you and your family for the first year
  • Health, character and English language requirements.

If you have family they will need to apply for visas under the Partnership and Dependent Child categories.

Residence for EHF Fellows

Upon completion of the three-year programme, international Fellows become part of the EHF alumni community and are eligible to apply for New Zealand permanent resident visas.

To be eligible for permanent residence, you must remain in the Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 30 months before applying, and maintain the support of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship.