New Zealand

Entrepreneur Work Visa

An experienced entrepreneur can qualify for a temporary work visa in New Zealand based on an investment in a NZ company. After an initial stay in New Zealand on this Entrepreneur Work Visa ​​it is possible to apply for permanent residence based on the same investment (Entrepreneur Residence Visa).

This visa type is specifically aimed at experienced entrepreneurs who want to run their own business in New Zealand. The Investor Category is aimed at investors who do not want to be actively involved in managing their investment.

Step 1: Entrepreneur Work Visa

The purpose of this visa category is described as follows in Immigration Instructions: ’to contribute to economic growth by enabling experienced business people to grow or establish high growth and innovative businesses with export potential in New Zealand.

The key terms in this definition are: innovative companies, high growth and export potential. Companies that do not meet any of these three criteria will not qualify. This goal of the category is reflected in the points table that is used to assess whether an applicant qualifies for the visa category.

The Entrepreneur Work Visa works on the basis of a points system that assesses whether the intended investment meets the requirements of the visa category. A score of at least 120 points is required. Earn points based on investment size, entrepreneurial experience, job creation, turnover, age and export potential. Bonus points can be earned if the company is located outside the Auckland region.

Important conditions for the Entrepreneur Work Visa are also:

  • An investment of at least NZ$100,000.-
  • A comprehensive business plan documenting the company’s added value to New Zealand.
  • The applicant must not have been involved in bankruptcy or have ever been convicted of fraud in the five years prior to the application.
  • The visa is valid for a maximum of three years. This three-year period is divided into a start-up phase (12 months) and the follow-up phase of 24 months, which is awarded if the entrepreneur has demonstrated that the company was is operating per the business plan after the first period of 12 months.

Step 2: Entrepreneur Resident Visa

The Entrepreneur Work Visa provides a pathway to residence through the Entrepreneur Residence Category during the term of the visa.

There are two streams within the Entrepreneur Residence Category:

  • the applicant can apply for a permanent resident visa (Entrepreneur Resident Visa) after only 6 months if the investment is over NZ$500,000 and has created 3 or more new jobs.
  • For other EWV applicants it is possible to apply for permanent residence after holding an Entrepreneur Work Visa for more than 2 years.