Immigration law is a complex field, with changes happening at a rapid pace. With our  insights and updates, you’ll be well-equipped to understand the intricacies of the law. 

Out with the old…
In July 2022 the Investor Plus 1 and 2  categories  closed to new applicants. We’re continuing to assist clients in the “tail” of these categories They have 3 year (investor 1) and 4 year (investor 2) investment periods.

And in with the new… Active Investor plus:
The above categories have been replaced with the Active Investor Plus category This gives maximum  points for direct investment in New Zealand companies approved by New Zealand trade and Enterprise. This is a big change. Investment in real estate is out..

The investment range is NZD 5 to 15 million depending on the nature of the investments.

Investment types / Weighting

  • Listed equities: Maximum: NZ $7.5 millionX1 Each $1 invested will be accorded the value of $1
  • Philanthropy: Maximum: NZ $7.5 millionX1Each $1 invested will be accorded the value of $1
  • Managed funds: Each $1 invested will be accorded the value of $2  (managed funds can include private equity listings).
  • Direct investment: Each $1 invested will be accorded the value of $3

So the amount required to be invested could be as little as $5 million if you’re willing to directly invest in New Zealand companies approved by NZTE but for many investors that is a very big call. For most investors the new category requires an investment somewhere between the old $3 million investment of investor 2 and the $10 million investment for investor 3.

You can apply online
Previously investor categories were one of the few “legacy” categories that required paper applications. For our overseas clients this was a logistical challenge. The new category is purely online.

Flexible investment timing
You can mix and match different kinds of investment. The old categories required full upfront investment but you are now able to invest progressively(in stages)  across three years and are then required to maintain the investment for a fourth-year. Then you get permanent residence. There are detailed rules about initial investment depending on the investment type: We would be happy to provide specific advice in your case.

But be warned!

The whole nominated funds need to be transferred

  • Previously investors could nominate well in excess of the minimum investment funds and then just transfer what they needed. With active investor plus you can no longer do this. All of the nominated funds must be transferred to New Zealand.

Bonds and property are out 

  • Previously many of our clients preferred bonds and property investment as safe investments. However these investments are no longer available.

Holding account

  • There are rules around holding account in New Zealand to hold the funds while you progressively move them across to your investments

Time in New Zealand
During those four years as a resident you have to spend 117  days in New Zealand. This compares with 88 days for investor 2 with growth investments. This is often an issue for our high-value clients who have business commitments in other parts of the world.

Other key requirements
Immigration New Zealand will carefully check the source of nominated funds going back many years if necessary. This is a demanding part of the application process where clients are required to find historical tax returns and other proof which can vary according to what local practices. We invest a great deal of time and effort as this stage, as it sets up the whole application.

The investment must be made within New Zealand for an acceptable purpose. It must bring a commercial return and not be for personal use.
End to end you may be looking at your nominated funds being tied up for 5 or more years. 
All applicants must meet basic health and character requirements.
Every situation is different and it is important to get expert advice at the very beginning of the process. Our expert team will be delighted to assist.

No more informal preapprovals: A change that you won’t see on Immigration New Zealand’s website

In the past advisors and lawyers would often send a “draft” proposal for investment to immigration New Zealand. In our recent meetings with Immigration New Zealand business management we have been told that over the past six months that they have moved away from giving “pre-checks” of proposed investments. This responsibility falls on the lawyer or adviser. It makes your choice of an expert in the field all the more important. Immigration New Zealand will provide general information on investment options which are not clear on their website or in the instructions. If a lawyer or adviser now tells you that immigration New Zealand will pre-approve your application you should treat that was some caution 

Other options
Please see part two of this blog for the Grandparent Retirement and Entrepreneur categories. 

Please note
This is general information only. Every case is different and immigration instructions change over time. The above information was accurate as at February 2024.

Contact us 
Let our wealth of experience with all of these categories and our extensive contacts with immigration New Zealand at all levels be used to your advantage. Contact our friendly team either through our website, by email or directly through our director Richard Small