Female entrepreneur to miss out on New Zealand residency visa

Published:  21 Feb at 6 PM
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A Chinese entrepreneur who set up a successful business employing three people after her arrival in New Zealand has been refused a permanent residency visa on financial grounds.

Businesswoman Lanfang Zhang had applied for her conditional residency through NZ immigration’s Entrepreneur Plus programme, which requires an investment of NZ$500,000 and the employment of three NZ nationals. After transferring NZ$590,000 to her NZ bank account and setting up her business, Top Tile and Bathroom, she turned a respectable profit during her first year of trading.

However, when she applied for conditional residence under the visa scheme, she was told that a cash deposit in the bank was not an acceptable investment. The cost of running the business was also not considered relevant, although stock purchased was allowed.

According to an Immigration New Zealand spokesperson, her stock, purchased overseas and valued at NZ$339,262, was allowable as per migrant instructions, which state that investment as per visa regulations is confined to stock, assets and infrastructure. The rules also state that the NZ$500,000 must be maintained for two years.

Ms Zhang’s immigration advisor, Tuaraki Delamere, himself a former Immigration Minister, told reporters that the rules interpreted in her case meant that an immigrant would have to import retail goods and stocks at the require amount, then do nothing with them for at least two years before being allowed to sell them. That, he stated, is nonsense.

Delamere added that clowns and incompetent decisions were ruining New Zealand’s economic opportunities by preventing migrant entrepreneurial start-ups. He noted the failure of the Entrepreneur Plus scheme, saying that in the four years since its introduction, only 19 applications had been approved, with nine rejected and four withdrawn.
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