Described above are two categories of business owners. The dairy farmers representing one of the biggest group of entrepreneurs in the country. The vineyard owners occupying a niche within the total of New Zealand businesses. New Zealand has lots of people owning and starting their own business. Kiwi’s and immigrants alike have the entrepreneurial spirit to make their own business work.
The new Entrepreneur Work Visa, a three year temporary visa, is based on a points system. You will need 120 points to qualify. There is no Expression of Interest system such as under the Skilled Migrant Category, where you have to submit your EOI into a pool and it will (or will not) be selected in one of the fortnightly draws after which you are invited to apply for residency. This a merely a test you have to pass and if you believe you meet the points requirement you may apply.
As said before the bar has been raised. You will need a minimum of NZ$100,000 in investment capital (and extra working capital) but you only qualify for points from and above the NZ$200,000 threshold. Your age, as long as you are over 18 and under 60 will give you points. You may apply for an entrepreneur visa if you are over 60 and meet the points requirements. You also need previous business experience, either general or relevant to the business plan for at least three years or senior management experience for at least 5 years.
However there are a few other options to collect points. Immigration New Zealand has put a focus on two aspects. One is export and two is bringing new or innovative products to New Zealand. So if you export goods and forecast you may reach an annual turnover of at least NZ$200,000 you qualify for points. Bringing a new or innovative product to New Zealand will get you 30 points. From this perspective is seems better to start a new business instead of buying an existing one.
There is some debate around what is considered exporting and what new or innovative products are.
Be aware you will have to meet the forecast and projections (e.g. about the number of full time staff you will employ) you make in your business plan to be able to gain residency later on. Also tricky, people who are currently on Long Term Business Visa will have to meet the new residency criteria under the Entrepreneur Plus category.
As a final note, it seems likely there will be a huge drop in the number of applications. Most people will not be able to meet the required 120 points. Maybe in a year’s time the policy will be reviewed and some of the requirements will be slightly amended