What are Acceptable Investments?

Requirements for investments

If you want to apply for your New Zealand resident visa as investor, you will have to place an investment that fulfils the requirements of the Investor Visa policy. 

Acceptable investments under the Investor policy are investments that 

  • are capable of a commercial return under normal circumstances; and
  • are not for the personal use of the applicant(s); and
  • are invested in New Zealand in New Zealand currency; and
  • are invested in lawful enterprises or managed funds that comply with all relevant laws in force in New Zealand; and
  • have the potential to contribute to New Zealand's economy; and 
  • are invested in either one or more of the following: 
    • bonds issued by the New Zealand government or local authorities, or 
    • bonds issued by New Zealand firms traded on the New Zealand Debt Securities Market (NZDX), or 
    • bonds issued by New Zealand firms with at least a BBB- or equivalent rating from internationally recognised credit rating agencies (for example, Standard and Poor's), or 
    • equity in New Zealand firms (public or private including managed funds), or 
    • bonds issued by New Zealand registered banks, or 
    • equities in New Zealand registered banks, or 
    • residential property development(s), or 
    • bonds in finance companies.

About 80 per cent of investments placed by immigrants are currently going into safe, passive places like government bonds.

Investing in Commercial Property 

Investing in Commercial property is considered an acceptable investment. This can be a new building which is then leased out or the purchase of an existing building to be leased out. The key requirement is that the commercial property needs to be capable of making a commercial return. If the investment is going to be in developing a new building, Immigration New Zealand will need to see how and when the funds are committed.

Investing in Development of Residential Property

Some guidelines around what Immigration New Zealand would consider an acceptable demonstration of investments in this area:

  • Funds do need to be in New Zealand 
  • A contract with builders is in place
  • Evidence that all consents have been obtained
  • Evidence of funds having been invested and/or committed to be paid in stages over a period of time 
  • If applicants decide to sell a partially completed house they need to put the profit and original funds into another acceptable investment.

Investing in Bonds

Bonds usually pay a higher interest rate than bank deposits. So they can be a good option if you want a steady income from your investment. 

Bond markets move in a different cycle to share and property markets, so can help smooth out rises and falls overall.

Bonds are considered safer than shares, but still have some risks.These include the interest rate risk, where market rates rise and you find that you’re earning less from your bond than you could with another investment. There is also inflation risk where a high rate of inflation lowers the value of the interest you earn and potentially a liquidity risk, meaning you can’t find a buyer when you want to sell.

Some bonds are safer than others.  A government or council bond may be safer than one issued by a company.  

Transfer of Investment Funds

Applicants under the Investor Category have 12 months from being approved in principle (AIP) to transfer their nominated funds to New Zealand through the banking system. 

Applicants will have to provide evidence of reasonable attempts to transfer their funds to New Zealand. Should they have difficulties with staying within this time frame, they can apply for an extension. Extensions have to be applied for at least a month before the end of the 12 month transfer period. Please note: Waiting for exchange rates to move or waiting for a share price to increase before liquidating the nominated investments funds are not considered as reasons for necessary extensions by Immigration New Zealand. 

Currency restrictions

Be aware that there are a number of countries which operate foreign exchange controls.

All applicants must therefore fully check their ability to transfer funds in a way that meets the requirements under the Investor Policy, before proceeding with an application. Applications using currency restrictions as a reason for not being able to transfer the necessary funds will be declined.

You might also be interested to read about

Businesses for sale in New Zealand
Houses for sale in New Zealand
Talking to an investment adviser
Investor News

Ask our Business and Investor Migration Expert

If you want to find out more about investing in New Zealand, contact Dr. Carsten Hallwass, the Business and Investor Migration Adviser in our team.

Contact Dr. Hallwass