Work Visa (Entrepreneur)
The Entrepreneur Work Visa instructions was introduced in 2013, which replaced the old Long Term Business Visa instructions. According to Immigration New Zealand, the new instructions is a "game changer", focusing on enabling experienced business people to establish high growth and innovative businesses with export potential in New Zealand.
You will need to satisfy each of the following requirements:
- meet general requirements; and
- meet English language requirements; and
- meet business experience requirements; and
- meet funds requirements; and
- meet points requirements; and
- meet business plan requirements.
Let's take a look at each in turn.
General requirements include paying correct application fee, using prescribed Immigration New Zealand form, meeting health/character requirements, and being a 'bona fide' (genuine) applicant. In addition, you must not have been involved in bankruptcy, business failure, business fraud, etc.
English language requirements
You, your partner and your dependent children aged 16 years or over will need to provide evidence to show that you have English proficiency equivalent to an IELTS exam score of at least 4.0. Partners and dependent children have the option of pre-purchasing ESOL training if they are unable to meet the English language requirement.
Business experience requirements
You must provide suitable evidence to demonstrate that you have sufficient business experience to be able to successfully establish and run the business in New Zealand, as well as showing that you are a credible person who is committed to following through with the business plan and abide by the conditions of the visa.
You will need to show that you are capable of injecting a minimum capital investment of $100,000 (excluding working capital) into your proposed business, unless exempt. In addition to the capital investment, you will need to show that you have sufficient funds to finance the proposed business as well as providing maintenance and accommodation for the period of the visa for yourself and your family.
The funds must have been legally earned or acquired, and when the funds are transferred to New Zealand, it must originate from your own account and transferred using normal banking system.
This category operates a points system. From the following table, you will need to work out that you can claim at least 120 points. Take note that under some sections of the points table you are only able to claim points from a limited number of categories.
Business plan requirements
As part of the application you must submit a detailed business plan. The business plan must be specific and realistic, and you should provide appropriate evidence which validate any statements or assumptions made in it.
Key to the business plan will be demonstrating how the proposed business will be high growth and innovative with an export potential, and what significant benefit is expected to be created in New Zealand as a result.
You should take a conservative approach when putting the numbers together as if you don't achieve the goals that you have set in the business plan, it could affect your Entrepreneur Residence Visa application down the track.
Stages of Entrepreneur Work Visa
Under this category, you will be allowed up to three years to run your business (Immigration New Zealand can grant further visas beyond the three years but only on case by case basis). The three year visa period will be rolled out in two stages.
The first stage is when your application has been approved, where the initial visa granted will be valid for a period of 12 months. You will be expected to use the time to commit your funds in the business, set it up and get it off the ground. Then you must request the balance of the three years to Immigration New Zealand.
When you have run the business for at least two years (or six months — see Entrepreneur Residence Category) and have achieved the goals in the business plan, you will be eligible to apply for residence under the Entrepreneur Residence Visa Category.
Many issues that you were not aware of could surface when you lodge an Entrepreneur Work Visa application, so it will be worth getting proper advice and guidance from the beginning.