28 Sep 2020

Business NZ urges border exemptions for investors

10:59 am on 28 September 2020

More than a billion dollars of potential economic investment is on hold because border restrictions stop foreign investors coming to New Zealand.

A deserted baggage claim area at Auckland Airport's international terminal during the Covid-19 alert level 3 lockdown on 7 May 2020.

A deserted baggage claim area at Auckland Airport's international terminal in May 2020. Photo: Brett Phibbs / PhibbsVisuals

Immigration NZ has about 270 applications for investor category one and two visas, in varying stages of processing, with each applicant promising an investment in the country of between $3 million and $10 million.

While the borders are closed the department cannot legally approve the visas, although recently it has started working through a selected small number of cases.

Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope said getting the visas approved was a critical part of the economy's recovery.

"We are seeing some border exemption criteria applied to critical workers who are coming in ... we think that investor category needs to be included in some of those border exemptions.

"Where we have those investors coming into New Zealand to create those businesses they also create high value jobs so let's not dismiss that, that's a really important part of New Zealand's future."

He said there was likely to be scope within quarantine facilities to increase the number of migrants coming in.

"US-based technology investors are really keen to come to New Zealand because we have ultra-fast broadband in most parts of the country and we are Covid-free-ish."

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