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26 July, 2022

New Zealand will issue residence permits to investors under new conditions

The New Zealand government has announced a new category of investment visa — Active Investor Plus. It will replace two existing visas: Investor 1 and Investor 2.

We tell you what is known about the new visa and when it will be possible to obtain it.

Investor visa in New Zealand: conditions for obtaining a residence permit
Photo: Adobe Stock

Investors can obtain a residence permit in New Zealand for three or four years if they participate in the government's Investor 1 or Investor 2 programs. But these two programs will close on July 27, 2022: all applications submitted before that day will be considered.

The cancellation of the Investor 1 and Investor 2 programs is part of a new government strategy to change the country's immigration policy. New Zealand plans to attract experienced, high‑profile investors who will be willing to invest in local businesses. Currently, visa applicants most often choose passive investments, such as buying government bonds.

It will be possible to obtain an Active Investor Plus visa from September 19, 2022, when the new program conditions come into force.

The minimum investment amount will increase from NZ$3,000,000 to NZ$5,000,000. This is about 3.1 million US dollars. Only 50% of this amount is allowed to be invested in passive investments.

To keep a residence permit, investors will have to spend 117 days in New Zealand over four years. It’s about a month out of the year.

Minimum investment to obtain a residence permit in New Zealand

Investors will no longer be able to buy real estate or bonds to obtain New Zealand residency. Investment options that will remain available:

  • direct participation in a business that is registered in New Zealand;
  • passive investments: shares of companies listed on the stock exchange; shares of local venture and investment funds; charitable contributions to local funds.

Investment requirements — new conditions

Companies that investors will invest in must obtain approval from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, or NZTE. This is a government agency that helps New Zealand businesses go international.

Under the new conditions, investors are allowed to invest money gradually over the first three years of the visa.

Comparison of conditions for New Zealand investment programs

ConditionOld programsNew program
Investor 1Investor 2Active Investor Plus
Minimum investmentNZ$10,000,000
≈ $6,225,000
≈ $1,870,000
≈ $3,100,000
for direct investment in the capital of local companies

≈ $9,340,000
with passive investments in charitable organizations, shares of venture and investment funds, shares of companies through the stock exchange

Passive investments - no more than 50% of the total investment
Investment retention period3 years4 years4 years
Stay in the country88 days during the last two years of membership483 days over four years117 days over four years
Investor ageFrom 18 years oldFrom 18 to 65 years oldFrom 18 years old
Knowledge of EnglishNot requiredAt a basic levelAt a basic level
Business experienceNot requiredFrom 3 yearsNot known yet
Deadline for obtaining permanent residenceFrom 3 yearsFrom 4 years oldFrom 4 years old

New Zealand has earned about 112 billion New Zealand dollars from investor programs - this is about 7.5 billion US dollars. But investors often receive visa refusals, for example, in 2021, the country's government rejected 69% of applications. And the term for consideration of documents has increased to a year instead of 3‑5 months.

Due to the high risk of rejection, investors prefer to obtain residency or citizenship in Europe and the Caribbean.

European citizenship and residence permit as an alternative for an investor

Seven European countries offer investors to obtain a residence permit. Residence permit and permanent residence programs differ in the minimum amount of investment, investment options and the term for obtaining resident status.

The residence permit gives the investor the right to come to the country of residence at any time, even with closed borders. Subject to all the conditions of the residence permit or permanent residence programs, the investor has the right to apply for citizenship of the country after some time, for example, in Portugal after five years.

Residents of five countries - Austria, Malta, Portugal, Greece and Switzerland - can also travel freely within the Schengen states and spend up to 90 days out of 180 there.

In which European countries investors can get a residence permit

CountryInvestmentsTerm of receiptResidence Requirements
Residence permit in AustriaFrom €100,000 From 3 months183 days a year
Permanent residence in MaltaFrom €150,000 6-8 monthsNo
Residence permit in PortugalFrom €250,000 2-6 months7 days a year
Residence permit in GreeceFrom €250,000 From 6 monthsNo
Permanent residence in CyprusFrom €300,000 From 3 monthsCome once every 2 years
Residence permit in AndorraFrom €400,000 2 months90 days a year
Residence permit in SwitzerlandFrom 450 000 ₣ per yearFrom 6 months183 days a year

In some countries, investors have the opportunity to obtain citizenship. Citizenship is more convenient than a residence permit, because the second passport expands the range of visa-free destinations.

Malta grants investors citizenship by naturalization for exceptional merit in the field of direct investment. The minimum investment amount is €690,000.

Investors fulfill three mandatory investment conditions:

  • make a contribution to the National Development Fund;
  • charitable contribution to a non‑governmental organization;
  • buy or rent property.

First, the investor receives a residence permit in Malta. Then after one or three years, depending on the amount of investment, he applies for citizenship.

Turkey offers investors citizenship for real estate investments from $400,000. Alternative investment options under the program:

  • deposit at a local bank;
  • purchase of shares in an investment fund;
  • business creation;
  • buying government bonds.

The minimum investment for these four options is $500,000. Getting a Turkish passport takes about six months.

Montenegro issues citizenship for investments from €472,000. The investor makes a non‑refundable contribution to the state fund and buys a share in the real estate project. The term for obtaining a passport takes six months. The citizenship program in Montenegro is valid until December 31, 2022.

Caribbean Citizenship - An Alternative to a Residence Permit in New Zealand

Citizenship by investment programs operate in five Caribbean countries. State governments offer foreigners several investment options to choose from: a non‑refundable contribution to the state fund, the purchase of real estate or bonds, and opening a business on the islands.

With a Caribbean passport, you can travel visa-free to more than 140 countries, including the Schengen states, the UK and Singapore. And for trips to the United States, you can get a visa for 10 years under a simplified procedure.

Caribbean Citizenship Programs

CountryInvestmentsTerm of receipt
Antigua and BarbudaFrom $100,000 3-6 months
DominicaFrom $100,000 3-6 months
Saint LuciaFrom $100,000 3-4 months
Saint Kitts and NevisFrom $150,000 2-6 months
GrenadaFrom $150,000 4-6 months

The conditions of the Caribbean programs are similar: it is not easy for investors to choose the citizenship of one of the countries. Immigrant Invest studies the situation and tasks of the investor and helps to make the final decision. How to choose a program and a country of second citizenship, we talked in an interview with an expert on investment programs.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the EU and the Caribbean. If you want to obtain a residence permit or citizenship by investment, please contact investment program experts for advice.

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New Zealand will issue residence permits to investors under new conditions