Doing Business with China

New Zealand Investor Visa includes residential real estate

Immigration New Zealand has made a smart move to discourage applicants from placing investments entirely in bonds. From 22 May 2017,  where 50% of the investor visa funds are invested in “growth oriented” investments, the amount that is required for the Investor 2 visa is discounted by NZD 500,000.

With similar climates, wide-open spaces, good schooling and a strong economy, like Australian, New Zealand is an attractive destination for migration and is already popular in China.

Investor 1 (Plus) Category – 3 years

This investor visa is NZD 10 M. Where 25% is invested in “growth oriented” investments the physical presence requirement of 88 days will now be spread over 3 years, rather than 44 days each in years 2 and 3.

Investor 2 Category – 4 years

This investor visa is now NZD 3M up from NZD 1.5M which also required NZD 1.0M of settlement funds. Under the new rules only NZD 2.5M will be required where 50% is invested in “growth oriented” investments. The physical presence requirement of 438 days to be spread over the 4 year term rather than 146 days in years 2,3 and 4.

Note there is a limit on the number of these visas of 400, increased from 300. There is also a softer “business experience” definition of 3 years, although English language skills are required and applicants must be under age 65.

Acceptable Investments

  • Growth oriented investments – New Zealand shares unlisted or listed either directly or through managed funds, and new residential property developments designed for commercial return, not personal use
  • Non-growth oriented investments – New Zealand Government and corporate bonds including banking and financial firms, and philanthropy to a maximum of 15%.

New Zealand Citizenship

Once the visa has been granted the pathway to permanent residency is just one year. Further, the opportunity to include investment in certain “off-the-plan” property will be well received by those who prefer investing in real estate and want to have a home for the family or children studying at the end of the four-year visa term.

For those who are weighing up the options, the NZ Investor 2 being equivalent to AUD 2.2M is less than half the amount of Australia’s AUD 5M Significant Investor Visa.

Stacey Martin is the founder of Expat Advisors Community, a network for professionals with internationally connected clients. With a background in financial services, today Stacey consults on investor migration managing relationships between Asia, in particular, China, Vietnam, India and Australia, New Zealand. She is the author of Smooth Road to Travel: China to Australia” which can be downloaded here.

For more information contact stacey.martin@expatadvisorscommunity.com.au or call +61 (0) 413 127 677.

Buying property in Australia – what overseas investors need to know

Australia is an attractive market for foreign investors, particularly when in comes to owning property including land. However, with escalating property prices in Sydney and Melbourne, the Australian and State Governments have made it more restrictive for foreign residents to purchase residential property in Australia. 

In this article, Ben Weeding from Buyside buyers agency outlines what investors can currently do when it comes to purchasing properties in Australia. Continue reading Buying property in Australia – what overseas investors need to know

Is FIRB approval required to purchase an Australian farm?

Australia has a vast amount of land and whilst not all is suitable for farming has become attractive to foreign investors particularly with the need for increased production with global population growth. 
Agriculture business

Proposed direct interests in an agribusiness generally require Foreign Investment Review Board Approval (FIRB) where the value of the investment is more than $55 million.

However, where the purchaser is from a country where Australia holds a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) there is no limit. Current FTA countries include New Zealand, Canada, Chilie, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the US.

Agricultural businesses include forestry and fishing as well as processing for meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, fruits and vegetables, grains and sugar.

Agricultural land

This is land that can be used for a primary production business.

All proposed investments in agricultural land by foreigners must be notified to the Australian Taxation Office Register of Foreign Ownership. Approval is required where the cumulative value exceeds $15 million, again except FTA partners.

For further guidance go to the government websites Agricultural land investment and Agribusiness Investments.

NZ Investor Visa program to include residential real estate

In June 2016 Australia changed the investment migration program to include venture capital to direct funds into areas which needed access to capital. Our friends across the ditch are also looking to have investments directed into growth assets rather than government bonds with final changes to their investment migration program due to be announced on 22 May 2017.

Australia’s investor visas are set at AUD 5M for the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) and AUD 15M for the Premium Investor Visa (PIV). New Zealand has an NZD 10 M Investor Plus program and are set to double the NZD 1.5M Investor program, but will give a reduction to NZD 2.5M (AUD 2.2M) to those that elect to invest half in growth assets.

The Australia program is very prescriptive in the management of the underlying assets within tight constraints, while in New Zealand complying investments can be in NZ shares either held directly or via a managed fund as well as NZ debt securities, and venture capital.  In addition to commercial property, new residential real estate developments which meet the parameters of the NZ Immigration program can also be used as part of the growth asset component.

Bear in mind the Investor 2 visa, unlike Investor Plus does have an age limit of 65, English language requirement, and requires more days to be spent in New Zealand  but the granting of NZ citizenship has been reduced to just one year after the 4 years holding period to permanent residency (3 years for Investor Plus).

With strong economic growth, a safe environment and clean air and good education system, New Zealand is understandably popular with those seeking a relaxed lifestyle for their families.

For a summary of the current and proposed NZ Investor Visa rules check out the comparison document: Investor Factsheet interim for use prior to May 2017.

For more information on investment migration to Australia and New Zealand contact Stacey Martin, Founder of Expat Advisors Community here.