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Changes to New Zealand Business migrant scheme

The New Zealand government has just announced a radical overhaul of the current business migrant scheme.

In an attempt to boost economic performance by making New Zealand more attractive for business and entrepreneurial migrants, a number of important changes will be made to the existing scheme by November 2009.

"For investor migrants the previously existing three categories are streamlined to two, with more realistic requirements for capital, language skills and time spent in New Zealand annually, as well as a far greater flexibility in terms of investment vehicles," explained immigration minister Dr Jonathan Coleman.

The new policy package is designed for migrants who want to invest in or set up a business in New Zealand and gain permanent residency. For entrepreneurial migrants the policy also introduces a Entrepreneur Plus category, which complements the existing Entrepreneur category. Entrepreneur Plus offers a faster path to residence for applicants who create at least three full-time jobs and invest NZ$500,000 in their business. The Investor category has also been split into two – with the Investor Plus requiring the ability to invest NZ$10 million, and the Investor 2 category requiring a lower level of investment but based around a points system.

So, why the new approach? According to Coleman, it's because there has been a significant drop off in business migration investment since 2005, mainly due to unrealistic investment expectations and English language requirements. "The last government's business migration policies have not attracted investment," he says. "Since 2007, there have only been 23 migrants brought to New Zealand through Labour's business migration policy. Business migration needs to be urgently addressed."

The new Investor policy was implemented on 28 July 2009 and the Entrepreneur policy will be introduced in November 2009.

More information regarding both policies can be found at: http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/invest/migrantinvestment/default.htm

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