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New Zealand

Entrepreneur Work Visa Category

New Zealand is a wonderful country with excellent business opportunities. Extraordinary infrastructure, easy transportation facilities connecting with almost all the major cities of New Zealand, healthy and technologically advanced business work environment with a serene and peaceful place to work. You can opt for Entrepreneur Work Visa if you wish to be self-employed with your own business in New Zealand.

Experienced and qualified visa consultants at Orbit Immigration are here to assist you for every minute requirement related to your Entrepreneur Work Visa for New Zealand. Entrepreneur Work Visa will definitely be the first move leading you to apply for residence in New Zealand under the Entrepreneur Residence Category.

How does this visa work?

An Entrepreneur Work Visa is a three-year work visa in two stages, namely;

  • Start-up stage:

You are given a 12 months’ work visa for New Zealand on the approval of your Entrepreneur work visa making you eligible to start a business in New Zealand.

  • Balance stage:

If you have taken steps to prove to the Business Migration Branch about the extension of the balance period, the remaining tenure of Entrepreneur Work Visa for 24 months can be granted to you.

You are required to comply with the following steps in this regard:

  • You are required to transfer needed investment capital to New Zealand through the appropriate banking system.
  • You need to provide the documents indicating the actions taken by you such as:
      • documents showing setting up the business (e.g. certificate of incorporation)
      • property purchase or lease documents for the business’ site
      • invoices for business equipment and supplies
      • other documents such as employment agreements, bank statements, utility company invoice.
  • Actions that show you have started operating your business, such as:
      • documents evidencing the constitution of the business (e.g. certificate of incorporation)
      • property purchase or lease documents relating to the business’ site
      • invoices for business equipment and supplies

The following prime conditions are required to be complied with for the approval of this visa;

  • You are required to make a minimum capital investment of NZ$100,000 (excluding working capital). You may not be required to invest if this requirement is waived.
  • You will need to meet or exceed 120 points on a scale which awards points for factors relating to the likely success of the proposed business and its value to New Zealand
  • have a business plan specific to your proposed business
  • You must not have been declared insolvent or bankrupt within the 5 years preceding the date your application is made.
  • You must not have been involved in business fraud or financial impropriety.
  • You should meet the health and character requirements for residence along with the linguistic requirements.
  • This visa lets you move to New Zealand and start your won business. It is perhaps the first step paving your path to apply for a residence in New Zealand under the Entrepreneur Residence Category.

Rules relating to the Capital Investment in New Zealand:

You are required to comply with the following rules relating to Investment Capital:

  • You must be able to invest a minimum capital investment of at least NZ$100,000 in your proposed business, excluding working capital.
  • Please note that Investment Capital Fund should be owned solely by you or you along with your partner/s if the partner actively supports your visa application and business.
  • Investment Capital Funds should not be borrowed. However, these funds are valid if gifted.
  • In other words, the funds should have been earned or obtained legally.

You are required to comply with the following rules relating to Working capital 

Your working capital can be in the form of;

  • Cash on hand
  • Capital tied to the assets which are used in the ongoing maintenance or for day to day affairs of the business.

Waiver of the capital investment requirement

The requirement to comply with a minimum capital investment of NZ$100,000 can be waived;

  • You intend to start the business in science, ICT, or
  • Your proposed business falls under the category of the high value export-oriented sector.
  • Your business seems to be of a high level of innovation or credible short-term high growth prospects.
  • Only members of the management team of the Business Migration Branch are able to waive the minimum capital investment requirement.
  • If you believe your proposed business merits a waiver of the capital investment requirement, email the Business Migration Branch to explain why you believe your business meets these criteria.

Minimum points on the points scale

  • You need to obtain a minimum of 120 points or more in order to be approved for Entrepreneur Work Visa.
  • Usually, the Points on the scale are awarded for factors relating to the likely success of the proposed business and its value to New Zealand. 
  • You are not required to go the points in all the categories. You just need to be granted a minimum of 120 points for your application to proceed. 
  • While filing your application for an Entrepreneur Work Visa, you are required to justify your claimed points. 
  • A copy of the points scale is available to download on the website.

Business plan

Your business plan must not be older than three months and it must be specific to the proposed business. Please note that Generic or Template Business Plans do not suffice the requirements of the Entrepreneur Work Visa and it may result in the rejection of your application. Your business plan must include the following satisfactory evidence stating that;

  • Your business plan supports the claims that have been made for the proposed business,
  • You have sufficient capital to finance your business and provide maintenance and accommodation for you and any partner or dependent children who are going to accompany you to New Zealand.
  • You have sufficient business experience relevant to the business proposal, and
  • Your financial forecasts are realistic.
  • You have gone through required and sufficient market research into the New Zealand business environment and the market for your proposed business in order to increase the possibility of success.
  • You have obtained professional or occupational registration in New Zealand if required for operating the business.
  • You have not been involved in bankruptcy or business failure within the last 5 years preceding the date your application was made.
  • You have not have been involved in business fraud or financial impropriety.
  • You genuinely intend to establish the business described in your business plan in New Zealand.
  • You can have the help of the checklists for deciding for what to include in a business plan in
    • Entrepreneur Work Visa Application (INZ 1222) PDF [350KB]
    • Entrepreneur Work Visa Guide (INZ 1221) PDF [167KB]

Rules relating to the Business Plans for the purchase of an existing business

  • Your business plan needs to draw out every detail of the particulars of your business along with the expected benefit it would award New Zealand in case you are buying an existing business.
  • You are also required to provide an evidence of the purchase price and the financial performance of the existing business along with
  • The conditional sale and purchase agreement,
  • An independent valuation OR
  • The financial statements for the previous two years.
  • You also need to provide the information on
  • Numbers of positions currently employed in the business
  • Wage records
  • Anonymous employment agreements and job descriptions for each role
  • Employer Monthly Schedules prepared for Inland Revenue

Other requirements

In respect of The English Language requirements compliance, you are required to provide

  • An IELTS certificate (no more than 2 years old when the application is lodged) with an overall band score of at least 4 in the IELTS General or Academic Module; or
  • An evidence of an English-speaking background which enables you to meet the minimum standard of English.

You and any partner or dependent children accompanying you must also meet health and character requirements for residence.

Start-up stage and Balance stage

You are granted a 12 months visa for your business on approval of your Entrepreneur Work Visa application. It would make you eligible you to travel to New Zealand and take necessary steps to commence your business according to the business plan submitted by you.

The balance period of the Three Year (The remaining 24 months) will be granted, if you apply within the validity of the start-up stage and the Business Immigration Specialist is satisfied that; 

  • the investment capital for the proposed business, as stated in the business plan, has been transferred directly from your own bank account(s) through the banking system to New Zealand; and
  • reasonable steps have been taken to establish or invest in the business as set out in your approved business plan.