Property and Investor Migrants
Migrants who wish to move to New Zealand can do so via a number of options, such as bringing essential skills to New Zealand, or investing in the New Zealand economy. For potential migrants who wish to use investment as a vehicle for gaining residence in New Zealand, there are two Migrant Investment categories.
Investor Plus (Investor 1 Category)
The basic criteria for this category is as follow:
- NZ$10 million invested in New Zealand for three years.
- The principal applicant must spend at least 44 days per year in New Zealand for years two and three of the three-year investment period.
- All applicants must meet health and character requirements.
More information on the application process for the Investor 1 Category can be found here.
Investor (Investor 2 Category)
The basis criteria for this category is as follow:
- NZ$1.5 million invested in New Zealand for four years. In addition, applicants must also hold an additional NZ$1 million in settlement fund, however this amount does not need to be transferred into New Zealand.
- The principal applicant must be 65 or younger, with at least three years of business experience. The applicant is also required to stay in New Zealand for at least 146 days per year for years two, three, and four of the four-year investment period.
- There is also an English-competency requirement for applicants under this category.
- Finally, applicants in this category must also meet health and character requirements.
More information on the application process for the Investor 2 Category can be found here.
For both categories, the nominated investment funds must be held in “acceptable investments” for the required investment period.
What is an “acceptable investment” for the purpose of investment migration?
An “acceptable investment” means an investment that:
- Is capable of a commercial return under normal circumstances, and
- Is not for the personal use of the applicant(s)
- Is invested in New Zealand in New Zealand currency, and
- Is invested in lawful enterprises or managed funds that comply with all relevant laws in force in New Zealand, and
- Has the potential to contribute to New Zealand’s economy, and
- Is invested in either one or more of the following:
- Bonds issued by the New Zealand government or local authorities, or
- Bonds issued by New Zealand firms traded on the New Zealand Debt Securities Market (NZDX), or
- Bonds issued by New Zealand firms with at least a BBB- or equivalent rating from internationally recognised credit rating agencies (e.g. Standard and Poor’s), or
- Equity in New Zealand firms (public or private, including managed funds), or
- Bonds issued by New Zealand registered banks, or
- Equities in New Zealand registered banks, or
- Residential property development(s), or
- Bonds in finance companies.
Are there any strings attached to using property as my “acceptable investment”?
Prior to July 2011, property was not accepted by Immigration New Zealand as an acceptable investment for the purpose of migrating to New Zealand. A change in policy came into effect on the 25th of July 2011, which recognised changes in the market drivers in the New Zealand housing market since the introduction of the original policy by allowing investors to invest in residential property in a way that benefits the country.
In order to qualify as an acceptable investment, residential investment must satisfy the following requirements:
- The residential property must be in the form of new developments on either new or existing sites, and
- The residential property cannot include renovation or extension to existing developments, and
- The new developments must have been approved and gained any required consents by the relevant regulatory authorities (including local authorities), and
- The purpose of the residential property investments must be to make a commercial return on the open market, and
- Neither the family, relatives, nor anyone associated with the principal applicant, may reside in the development, and
- The costs associated with obtaining any regulatory approval (including any resource or building consents) are not part of the applicant’s acceptable investments.
Simply put, you can invest in residential property to meet the acceptable investment criteria of your residency application as long as it is a new development, and the property is not acquired for your own use. Under the current policy, commercial properties, e.g. retail/office/industrial properties, are not acceptable investments for the purpose of investment migration.
The information provided in this article is not intended to provide a comprehensive statement of relevant laws and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. Please consult an expert for advice tailored specifically to your own circumstances.