New Kiwi retirement visa needs Brit millionaires

Published:  11 Apr at 6 PM
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New Zealand’s innovative new retirement visa and residency permit may sound attractive, but the financial requirements are sky-high enough to deter all but the wealthy.

The stunning antipodean islands of New Zealand have traditionally attracted expats from the UK looking for a British-style environment and friendly natives. However, the Kiwi government has, equally traditionally, made it less than easy for older UK and other expats to settle in comfort for the rest of their lives.

The new retirement visa, a first in that category for New Zealand, is intended to allow British and other nationals to stay indefinitely and apply for residency. However, the offer stipulates significant investment as well as a high level of income.

Formerly, even British citizens over the age of 56 were forbidden entry to the country, whilst the new visa category allows those over 65 years old and is divided into two options. The first option applies to retirees with family already resident in New Zealand. with successful applicants gaining permanent residence provided they have an equal number of family members already in the country. Financial requirements are steep, including an investment over four years of NZ$1 million or more, NZ$500,000 for maintenance and a minimum income of NZ$60,000 per year.

The second option applies only to would-be British migrants with no familial connection with the country and is basically a two-year renewable residence permit. Financial requirements start with an investment of NZ$750,000 and require the $500,000 maintenance amount as well as an annual $60,000 or more from other investments and pensions. The two-year visa is renewable as long as the criteria are met.

According to Kiwi immigration consultancies, the new visa constitutes an important change to NZ immigration policy, but is far too restrictive to affect the numbers arriving. Chris Noakes of IMMagine stated he believed it was unlikely that Brit retirees would wish to commit that level of cash or even find it in the first place, especially for a period of just two years. At present, New Zealand is home to some 215,000 British expats.
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