For Entrepreneurs


If you are wanting to start and run a business in New Zealand, you will need to have an Entrepreneur Work Visa.

Not designed for everyone

If you are wanting to start a business in New Zealand, you will need to have an Entrepreneur Work Visa.

To be successful under this visa category, you need to check off three things:

  • a good business idea or model that is likely to be seen as high-growth or innovative or export oriented by Immigration NZ; and
  • minimum NZ$100,000 (about US$80,000) investment into the business (excluding working capital); and
  • you need to be a real, genuine entrepreneur.

According to Immigration New Zealand, successful applications to date included exporting (e.g. food, wine, reformulated animal feeds), manufacturing (e.g. hydrofoil) and high-tech (e.g. biotech, internet startups, software as a service) businesses.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, the expectations are high and not suited for the traditional 'corner dairy' type businesses. This category is not for the faint hearted - to succeed under this category, you need to know what you are doing.


Let's take a look at the pros and cons of the Entrepreneur Visa category.


  • Be your own boss and build your business
  • If you have children their school fees will be the same as locals
  • Free Trade Agreements with China, Australia and ASEAN countries
  • New Zealand is said to be the best country in the world to do business (according to Forbes Magazine 2012)
  • New Zealand is said to be the easiest country to start a business (according to 2013 World Bank report)


  • Stringent requirements
  • Need to run the business for at least 2 years (can be shortened to 6 months if some conditions are met)
  • If your business goes downhill, you may have to kiss your residence visa goodbye

Are you a passionate entrepreneur wanting to run a business in New Zealand? Read more about it here and here.

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