Meeting the criteria

The criteria and evidence below will provide you with the information you need to meet the requirements.

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Character

You must be of good character

If you are 17 or over, you must provide a police certificate from:

  • your country of citizenship
  • any other country where you have spent 12 months or more over the last 10 years, even if you did not spend that 12 months all in one visit.

Good character

How to get a police certificate

Police Certificates must be less than 6 months old when you apply.

Fit and proper person

You must be a fit and proper person

You must confirm in the application form that you meet fit and proper person requirements.

To be a fit and proper person, all businesses you have influence over must have complied with all immigration, employment and taxation laws. You must also:

  • have never been investigated by the Serious Fraud Office or the New Zealand police for any offence resulting from business dealings
  • have no convictions for an offence involving dishonesty
  • have never been involved in business fraud or financial impropriety.

We’ll contact you if you need to provide further information.

Bring family

Your partner and dependent children must meet the requirements for this visa

You must provide evidence:

  • of your relationship with your partner and dependent children, like a marriage certificate and birth certificates
  • that your partner and dependent children meet the identity, character, health and English language requirements for this visa.

Partnership
Dependent children

If your partner and dependent children 16 and over do not speak English, they can learn in New Zealand. You will have to pay us for English language classes before we can grant you a visa.

Learning English in New Zealand after you come to New Zealand

If any of your immediate family members hold New Zealand temporary entry visas based on their relationship with you, they must be included in your residence application.

Your work visa

You must have a current Entrepreneur Work Visa if you have been self-employed for less than two years

We’ll check our records for evidence you hold an appropriate work visa.

We may be able to accept another current visa, if you’ve been working in your own business in New Zealand for at least 2 years and both:

  • your visa allows self-employment in New Zealand
  • you meet all the requirements for an Entrepreneur Work Visa.

Entrepreneur Work Visa

New Zealand business

You must have either set-up or purchased at least 25% of the shareholding in a New Zealand business and have been running that business for at least 6 months

You must provide evidence that shows how long you’ve been running your business in New Zealand, which may include:

  • a certificate of incorporation 
  • audited financial statements
  • GST records
  • other tax records
  • export documents
  • employment agreements
  • wage and salary records
  • documents showing you’ve purchased or leased the business site
  • invoices for business equipment and supplies
  • any other documents that demonstrate the operation of the business.

If you’ve been running your business for less than 6 months you won’t be eligible for this visa.

Business plan

Your business must have realised the benefits outlined in your business plan

You must provide evidence your business has met or exceeded the goals outlined in your business plan.

Preparing your business plan

Business profitability

Your business must be profitable

Your business must be both:

  • trading profitably (or have the potential to become profitable within 12 months)
  • making enough money to pay yourself an annual salary that’s at least as much as New Zealand’s full-time minimum wage.

Economic growth

Your business must be contributing to New Zealand’s economic growth

You must provide evidence that your business is contributing to New Zealand’s economic growth in one of the following ways:

  • introducing new technology, management or technical skills
  • enhancing existing technology, management or technical skills
  • introducing new products or services
  • enhancing existing products or services
  • creating new export markets
  • expanding existing export markets
  • creating at least 1 full-time job for a New Zealander (or at least 3 full-time jobs, if you’ve been in business for less than 2 years)
  • offering new skills, networks, management capability and/or capital that increase an existing business’ financial performance.

For us to consider a product or service ‘new’ it would need to:

  • be the only one of its kind in New Zealand
  • be not previously available in the New Zealand location you run your business.
  • offer a significant enhancement or product line not previously provided by an existing New Zealand business or in the location you run your business.

Capital investment

You must have invested at least as much capital as outlined in your business plan

You must have invested at least as much capital as outlined in your business plan. If you’ve been running your business for less than 2 years, your investment must be no less than NZ $500,000.

Capital investments exclude:

  • passive or speculative investments, like reserve funds or term deposits
  • items for your own use, like your car, boat or home
  • any salary or wages paid to you or your immediate family
  • residential property investments, unless they’re part of the business plan.

Employment and immigration law

Your business must comply with New Zealand employment and immigration law

We may ask you to provide evidence that the business:

  • pays workers no less than the minimum wage or other contracted industry standard
  • meets holiday and other leave requirements
  • provides a safe workplace
  • only employs people who are allowed to work in New Zealand.

If the business is included on the list of non-compliant employers maintained by the Labour Inspectorate then we can’t approve your application.

List of non-compliant employers

No welfare assistance

You must not have received any welfare benefits or assistance

If you or anyone included in your residence application, have received any welfare benefits or assistance since you were granted a Work Visa, you won’t be eligible to apply for residence.

When you complete your residence application, we’ll ask for your authority to contact Work and Income to check if you’ve received any welfare benefits or assistance.

Work and Income website

Businesses less than 2 years old

If you’ve been running your business for less than 2 years, there are extra requirements you must meet

We’ll only consider waiving the minimum capital investment requirement , if both:

  • your business is in science, ICT or another high-value export sector
  • your business shows a high level of innovation or short-term growth prospects.

For us to consider your business high-value export business, it would need to aim to:

  • create 5 or more jobs for New Zealanders
  • turnover NZ $500,000 in annual exports.

For us to consider your business has an high level of innovation, you would need show us:

  • you’ve discovered new ways to produce more goods or services without increasing the production costs
  • your business is likely to succeed because of your innovation.

We don’t accept casual or contract roles as evidence of new jobs.

 

Not the right visa for you?

Explore your other business visa options, see all business visas or explore another visa type.