New Zealand, like Australia, has grown their population through skills migration with the objective of adding to economic prosperity. Many countries also seek out investment migrants for much needed capital, particularly were relatively low populations don’t have sufficient resources to meet infrastructure needs.
In May this year, Immigration New Zealand sought to discourage investor migrants from placing investments entirely in bonds. They were encouraging half of the NZD 3 Million Investor 2 to go into in “growth oriented” investments such as shares and property. In return, the amount required to be invested for the 4 years is reduced to NZD 2.5 Million.
This has been an attractive alternative for those weighing up between the New Zealand and Australian programs, the later being more than double at AUD 5.0 Million.
Change to Australia’s Significant Investor Visa (SIV) Program
The SIV program had much success when launched in 2012 with 1,639 visas granted where complying investments included government bonds.
A change to the complying investments away from the bonds in July 2015 has resulted in a sharp drop to just 229 visas granted. Many attribute this fall to the requirement to invest in riskier assets such as venture capital and small listed company shares.
Change of Government in New Zealand Government
With the recent change of government from National to the Labour-NZ First co-coalition, there is uncertainty over the direction of the Investor Visa program.
In the Labour Government Immigration Manifesto written after the last election, their policy focus for the Investor Visa category is that funds should be used for building infrastructure, particularly in Auckland, where the majority of migrants have settled.
New Prime Minster, Jacinda Ardern, re-affirmed after the election that Labour estimates net migration will fall by 20,000 to 30,000 a year, mostly by limiting the number of people granted student and work visas (in the year to June 2017, net migration was 72,305).
It also recommends an increase to the investment amounts in line with Australia’s program to NZD 5 Million for the Investor 2 and NZD 15 Million for the Investor 1, along with a doubling in investment time-frames to 8 years (Australia is 4 years but can be extended up 8) and 6 years respectively.
Bring forward your NZ applications
When the complying investments in Australia were changed, applicants had only 2 months to get their applications in under the old rules which caused a flurry of activity.
The number of New Zealand Investor 2 visas is capped at just 400 pa, so a relatively small proportion. Further the last change to the program was only six months ago.
The Ardern government has stated there will be no changes in their first 100 days, as their focus is on other priorities such as housing, health and incomes.
Nevertheless, those migration agents and advisors who currently have clients considering the NZ Investor Visa pathway, may wish to submit the applications as soon as possible, so they are subject to the current rules should there be any changes to the program.
Stacey Martin, Founder of Expat Advisors Community, is an Investor Migration Consultant for Australia and New Zealand. If you are considering moving to Australia or would like to augment your offering with access to a range of experts to help make the move as smooth as possible Contact Us about our concierge service.