Entrepreneur visas

If you’re an experienced businessperson interested in being self-employed in your own business, our entrepreneur visas could be for for you.

Most people start out on a 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. 

These visas are designed to attract talented, entrepreneurial migrants who can invest in our communities, grow profitable businesses, and create jobs for New Zealanders.

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.

Entrepreneur Work Visa | Immigration New Zealand

Residence for entrepreneurs

'Self-employed' is...

Lawful, active, full-time involvement in the management and operation of a business in New Zealand which you have established, purchased, or made a substantial investment.

Self-employment does not include involvement of a passive or speculative nature.

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.

Entrepreneur Residence visa | Immigration New Zealand

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.

Looking to make a passive investment?

Entrepreneur visas are designed for migrants who want to work full-time in a business they own. If you're looking to invest at least NZ$1.5 million in bonds, stock or other investments, you may be eligible for an investor visa.

Investor visas

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Page last updated: 24/10/2014

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