To buy or create a new business in New Zealand

If you have experience running your own business or working in a senior management position in a business, you can apply for the New Zealand Entrepreneur Work Visa Category to buy, invest in, or start your own business in the country.

To be successful, you must demonstrate how your business will benefit New Zealand and prove your potential for success. Once your business has been operational for two years, you can apply for residency as a successful entrepreneur.

Buying or investing in an existing business that already has an established customer base and cash flow can be advantageous over starting a business from scratch, as long as taking over the business will bring benefit to New Zealand through new job creation or export potential.

Starting a business in New Zealand is straightforward. In fact, it was ranked the easiest place in the world to start a business in a 2016 World Bank Doing Business survey. You can establish your business under different structures, but a solid business plan, which we can assist you with, and market research are essential for success.

A 2-Step Process for Entrepreneur Visas in New Zealand

Entrepreneurs seeking to move to New Zealand can apply for an Entrepreneur Work Visa, followed by an Entrepreneur Resident Visa after running a successful business in the country for a set period of time.

1: Applying for the Entrepreneur Work Visa

To apply for an Entrepreneur Work Visa, the applicant must first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) under the Entrepreneur visa category. The EOI is a points-based system, where points are awarded based on age, business experience, benefit to New Zealand, capital investment, and location. A minimum of 120 points must be claimed, and a minimum investment of NZ$100,000 plus working capital is required. The higher the initial investment, the greater the chances of being selected.

If the EOI is approved, the applicant will be invited to apply for an Entrepreneur Work Visa. Once the visa is granted, the applicant must establish their proposed business within 12 months, which is known as the "Start-Up stage."

2: Applying for the Entrepreneur Resident Visa

After successfully running the business in New Zealand for at least 2 years, the applicant may then seek residence under the Entrepreneur Resident Visa category. However, applicants who have successfully operated the business for at least 6 months, made a capital investment of at least NZ$500,000, and created at least 3 jobs for New Zealand citizens or residents may be able to fast-track their residence application.