Australia and New Zealand are prosperous English-speaking countries with powerful passports that have multiple immigration options open to investors and entrepreneurs. Because of strong interest in migration to the two countries, the investment visa categories in Australia and New Zealand are highly selective and require large investment amounts. In both countries, investment opportunities are essentially split into two categories: the investor visa, which requires a passive investment of a significant amount of capital, or the entrepreneur visa, which requires substantial experience and a commitment to building a business in the country. Within the investor visa category, both countries have multiple levels of investment that confer different benefits. Both countries target high net worth individuals and have strict standards for proposed businesses within their borders.
Before selecting an investment location, investors should consider the outcome of their investment (temporary or permanent residency), the type of investment required, processing times, any long-term commitments demanded by the program and any restrictions on dual nationality. Both Australia and New Zealand have certain presence requirements, but the specific length of residency required will depend on the investment level. Furthermore, some investment levels may require English language skills.
Australia offers a variety of options for interested immigrants under their Business Innovation and Investment visa (Subclass 188). Separated into two stages—first provisional and then permanent—this visa allows investors willing to make a significant contribution to the Australian economy to move to, live and work in the country. The visa is divided into four streams: Business Innovation stream, Investor stream, Significant Investor stream and Premium Investor stream. In order to qualify, interested investors can develop and manage a business in Australia, invest at least AUD 1.5 million, invest at least AUD 5 million (Significant Investor Visa) or invest at least AUD 15 million (Premium Investor Visa). The various investment levels require different levels of business experience and offer different benefits. All investors must be nominated by an Australian state, territory or the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), depending on their application category.
This visa initially grants investors temporary residence, allows them to run a business or make investments, travel in and out of the country and bring their qualifying family members to Australia. The provisional visa is valid for four years and three months, and investors can apply for permanent residency at various points throughout that duration, depending on their investment stream. Provisional visas may also be extended depending on the investment stream.
Like Australia, New Zealand offers residency to both investors and entrepreneurs. Investors can qualify for residency in New Zealand in the Investor or Investor Plus visa categories. The basic investor category requires a minimum investment of NZ$1.5 million for four years, along with at least NZ$1 million in settlement funds. The Investor Plus category requires an investment of NZ$10 million, but only for three years, and lifts restrictions on age, business experience, settlement funds and language skills, and reduces time spent in New Zealand to 44 days per each of the last two years of the investment period. Applicants are first granted temporary residence, which lasts the duration of their required investment period. Once they have fulfilled the investment length requirements of the program, investors will be able to apply, with their families, for permanent residence in New Zealand.
Those interested in starting their own business in New Zealand can consider the Entrepreneur Work and Residence visas. The Entrepreneur Work Visa is the first step in acquiring residence on the basis of a business investment. This category requires a minimum investment of NZ$100,000, a business plan, and a certain score on a scale measuring the business’s likelihood of success and value for the country. If approved, applicants will be given a one-year start up period and two more years to run their business before applying for residency.
Each of these countries has established institutions to promote and run their respective investment residence programs. Australia requires all applicants to be nominated before applying to the program and New Zealand has different nomination requirements depending on the investment category. Prospective investors can visit our pages on each of these countries to learn more about investment opportunities, application requirements and how to get started.