New Zealand: Policy rewards workers outside of Auckland; clarifies entrepreneur visa criteria

Policy changes effectuated November 1, 2015 to the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and the Entrepreneur Work Visa category support regional development outside of Auckland.  Additionally, the policy changes clarify investment criteria under the Entrepreneur Work Visa category.

Extra Points for Work Outside of Auckland

Applicants under the SMC and Entrepreneur Work Visa categories can obtain additional points under the points-based system if they work or operate a business outside of Auckland. The points award has increased from 10 to 30 under a SMC application and from 20 to 40 for an Entrepreneur Work Visa application.

In line with this rule, SMC applicants who have worked outside of Auckland for less than three months must remain employed outside of Auckland for at least twelve months.  They may alternatively be employed in another position that meets the skilled employment criteria as long as the offer of employment qualified for bonus points.

Entrepreneur Work Visa Clarifications

In order to provide more certainty, criteria for capital investment and residential property development have been introduced. Capital investment now includes all nominated funds – those on which the applicant is basing his or her application - used in the establishment and operation of an approved business, except those used for the following purposes:

  • passive or speculative investment(s), such as reserve funds or term deposits;
  • the purchase of items for the applicant’s personal use, such as personal residences, cars or boats;
  • remuneration paid to the applicant or his or her immediate family; or
  • investment in residential property, except where the development meets certain legal requirements and was formed part of the applicant’s business plan.

Additionally, references to ‘working capital’ have been removed from the Entrepreneur Work Visa criteria to clarify the category qualifications.

Other Documentary Requirement Changes

The requirement to provide color copies of documents supporting SMC and Entrepreneur Work Visa applications has been replaced with a requirement that the documents be legible and an accurate reflection of the original document.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals who have the opportunity to work outside of Auckland should benefit from the increase in available points under the points-based system, which should make it easier to qualify for SMC and Entrepreneur Work Visa categories.

Foreign entrepreneurs should benefit from the clarified investment criteria.