New Zealand Retirement Visa

On the 29th March 2010 a new Temporary Retirement Category and Parent Retirement Category (Residence) become effective. These policies have been long overdue and we have already seen a lot of interest from current and prospective applicants since March 10, when Immigration New Zealand (INZ) released the details of these two new visa categories.

This article provides a brief summary of the requirements of these two new visa categories.

Temporary Retirement Category

This category provides an avenue for applicants to obtain a two year multiple entry visitor visa and retire in New Zealand, which is renewable on an ongoing basis, subject to the requirements below:

  1. main applicant must be over 65 years of age at the time of application;
  2. invest a minimum of NZ$750,000.00 in an ‘acceptable investment’ in New Zealand for the duration of their stay;
  3. demonstrate that they have sufficient funds for their maintenance and accommodation during the temporary stay period by proving assets of NZ$500,000.00 and an annual income of at least NZ$60,000.00, as at the date of submission of the application. These requirements must be met each time the visa is applied for;
  4. hold comprehensive medical insurance for the duration of their stay; and
  5. meet health and character requirements.

Effectively an applicant can retire and live in New Zealand on a permanent basis, without needing to obtain permanent residency, provided the above criteria is met each time the visa is applied for. It will be very interesting to see how many applications are lodged under this visa category.

Residence Parent Retirement Category

Amongst other requirements, the current Parent Category requires applicants to wait for their sponsoring child to be permanently resident in New Zealand for three years before an application can be submitted. In addition to this, the current processing times for these applications is more than 18 months from the date of submission and therefore applicants will need to wait almost five years before being able to be permanently reunited with their children in New Zealand through the regular Parent Category.

The new Parent Retirement category will allow parents of New Zealand residents a quicker way of obtaining residency and seeks to address the lengthy processing times applicants are expected to wait under the current Parent Category, mentioned above. However, this visa category will only be available to applicants who can meet the following criteria:

  1. centre of gravity test – the main applicant will be required to demonstrate that they have no dependent children and the number of their adult children lawfully and permanently in New Zealand is equal to or greater than those lawfully and permanently in another single country, including the country in which the main applicant is currently residing;
  2. demonstrate ownership of and undertake to invest NZ$1 million in an ‘acceptable investment’ in New Zealand for four years;
  3. demonstrate settlement funds for maintenance and accommodation of NZ$500,000 and an annual income of at least NZ$60,000, as at the date of submission of the application; and
  4. meet health and character requirements.

Summary

These policies show an effort by the New Zealand government to attract migrants who are willing to make an investment that will stimulate economic growth, which will benefit the country.

As with any new policy announced by INZ, it is important for all potential applicants to obtain professional advice form a Licensed Immigration Adviser and/or a New Zealand qualified Solicitor on eligibility criteria and the requirements that need to be satisfied under these two new visa categories.

Borey Chum is the Principal of Migration Associates, and is a IAA Licensed Immigration Adviser and isa Qualified New Zealand Solicitor, based in the UK. For more detailed and comprehensive advice on whether you meet the requirements of these two new visa categories, you are invited to contact him directly on 01483230484 or by email on bchum@migrationassociates.co.uk