Lawyer warns of immigration changes discouraging investors

by Sol Dolor06 Jan 2017
An immigration law specialist is warning that changes to immigration policies could hurt New Zealand’s prospect as a destination for investors.
Furthermore, changes could also pose problems for skilled immigrants needed by the country, Aaron Martin from New Zealand Immigration Law tells Radio NZ.
In May, changes to requirements for investor visas will see mandatory investments doubled to $3 million over a period of four years. For Investor Plus visas also called Investor 1 Category, migrants still need $10 million invested over three years.
The publication also notes that those up for investor visas would have to have spent at least 146 days a year over three of the investment years in the country. Investors will also be required to have three years’ experience, be under 65 years old, and their whole family to be fluent in English.
These changes are aimed at encouraging growth investments to better boost the country’s economy, mmigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said when he announced the changes.
However, Martin notes that some investors, particularly those who are risk averse, could be put off by the new requirements.
"People who are trying to come through are usually at a stage when they want to wind down from being entrepreneurs," said the immigration lawyer.
“They've built up a nest egg which they are probably going to use for retirement purposes in New Zealand. They are wanting to protect that asset. That is why they have usually chosen conservative investments such as government bonds because they want to preserve their asset base,” he told Radio NZ.
In his practice, the lawyer also noted some of his skilled immigrant clients are now facing more hurdles succeeding coming into the country.
“For example, I've had a case where he's an engineer, has a job offer from an Auckland employer, has been working in New Zealand from the UK and in his late 40s but now does not get enough points unless he is able to get a transfer of his job to their Christchurch division,” he told the publication.
He estimates that about 20,000 immigrants needed by the country could defer their plans because of the changes.

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