Changes to the visa conditions for entrepreneurs looking to invest and move to New Zealand have been announced and will come into effect in May 2017.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said that changes to the migrant investor policy will encourage investments that provide greater economic benefits for the country.

The changes will mean that the funds applicants for an Investor 2 visa will need to have double the amount of funds to put into their business with the minimum rising to $3 million.

However the need to hold $1 million in settlement funds will be removed and applicants will be rewarded with bonus points for investing in growth orientated sectors.

Other changes to the points system for this visa stream will mean more recognition for higher levels of business experience and English language skills. There will also be priority processing and financial discounts available.

Overall Woodhouse said that New Zealand wants to attract more investors and to encourage this the annual cap for this visa stream will be increased from 300 to 400.

‘There’s no doubt the Migrant Investor categories are performing well with $2.9 billion invested since they were launched in July 2009 and a further $2.1 billion in funds committed,’ he explained.

‘However, around two thirds of investment is currently placed in bonds and the Government believes there is an opportunity to re-balance this towards growth-oriented investments. That is why we are making changes to increase the amount and performance of investment while better recognising the non-financial contribution of migrant investors,’ he pointed out.

He also pointed out that many investors tend to move into growth focused investments as they become more familiar with the New Zealand environment. ‘These changes will encourage them to do so earlier in the process while incentivising investments that deliver greater economic benefits for New Zealand,’ he added.