Work Visa for NZ

Entrepreneur Work Visa

In 2017, the IFC voted New Zealand the best country in the world for doing business. If you have an excellent idea for a start-up that could benefit New Zealand and New Zealanders, an entrepreneur work visa for NZ can help you turn your plans into reality. In addition, if your business runs successfully for two years, you may be eligible for residency down the line.

An Entrepreneur Work Visa allows you to move to New Zealand to buy or establish a business. After six months or two years, depending on your circumstances, you will then be eligible to apply for residence under the Entrepreneur Residence Category.

You’ll be able to include your partner and dependent children aged 19 and under on your application for an Entrepreneur Work visa. 

For more information about applying for an Entrepreneur Work visa or to consult with a specialist immigration lawyer, please get in touch with the Sharma Law team at +64 07 855 2663.

Applying For An Entrepreneur Work Visa for New Zealand

The first step in getting an entrepreneur work visa is to complete an Expression of Interest application. This is a point-based process based on the merits of your business proposal and it must attain at least 120 points to succeed. You must also make a minimum capital investment of NZD 100,000 in your proposed business.

Once your Expression of Interest has been selected from the pool of applications, you will then be invited to apply for an entrepreneur work visa for NZ.

What You Can Do On An Entrepreneur Work Visa

This visa will allow you to stay in New Zealand for a total of three years and runs in two key stages.

The Start-Up Stage

If your application is approved, you will be given a 12-month work visa that enables you to buy or establish your business in New Zealand.

During this time, you will be required to propose and establish your business.

The Operational Stage

Once you have taken steps to set up your business for the remaining 24 months, you will need to operate your new company and make it a success.

You will now need to prove that the investment capital for the proposed business, as stated in the business plan, has been transferred directly from your bank account to New Zealand through the banking system.

You must also prove that you have taken steps to establish your business as set out in your business plan.

Things To Note

There are certain factors and criteria that are worth taking into account, as they may affect your application for an entrepreneur work visa for NZ.

If your business is in the ICT or science sectors or shows a high level of innovation or export potential, Immigration New Zealand may consider waiving the NZD 100,000 capital investment requirement.

You cannot be granted an entrepreneur work visa if you’ve been made bankrupt or involved in a business failure in the last five years.

If you have been involved in any kind of business fraud or financial wrongdoing, Immigration New Zealand will not grant you a visa.

In addition to these requirements, there are also health, good character, and English Language requirements you have to meet when applying for an entrepreneur work visa.

A qualified immigration lawyer can answer any questions you might have around applying for a New Zealand entrepreneur work visa. Contact the team at Sharma Law at +64 7 855 2663 for a initial consult.


There are requirements the business itself must fulfil as part of the conditions of your entrepreneur work visa for NZ.

These include:

  • A minimum capital investment of NZ$100,000 into your proposed business. You will need to nominate unencumbered funds or assets equivalent in value to the total capital investment specified in your business plan. The funds cannot be borrowed but can be gifted and must be owned either solely by you or jointly with your partner.
  • You must demonstrate ownership of your funds and assets and that they have been earned or acquired legally.
  • In addition to your investment capital, you must have sufficient funds to finance your business and provide accommodation and maintenance for yourself, your partner and any dependents for the period of your visa.
  • You must achieve 120 points or more in a series of assessments regarding the likely success of your business and the benefits it can offer New Zealand.
  • You must have a clear, detailed business plan that is no more than three months old at the time of your application.
  • You must have sufficient business experience relevant to your business proposal.
  • You must have a genuine intent to establish the business as described in your business plan and to abide by the conditions of your visa.
  • You must have a clean recent history of bankruptcy, fraud and business failure.
  • Your proposed business must not constitute an unacceptable risk to policies or laws in New Zealand.
  • You must fulfil good health, character and English language requirements.


Capital Investment

Under $200,000 0 points
$200,000 + 10 points
$300,000 + 20 points
$400,000 + 30 points
$500,000 + 50 points
$750,000 + 60 points
$1M + 80 points


Business experience
Relevant Self-Employment

3 years + 20 points
5 years + 30 points
10 years + 40 points


Other self-employment

3 years + 5 points
5 years + 15 points
10 years + 20 points


Relevant senior management experience

5 years + 5 points
10 years + 10 points


Benefit to New Zealand
New full-time employment creation for New Zealand citizens/residents

1 full-time position 10 points
2 full-time positions 20 points
3+ full-time positions 30 points
5+ full-time positions 50 points
10 + full-time positions 80 points


Approved export businesses (based on annual turnover)

$200,000+ 10 points
$300,000 + 20 points
$400,000 + 30 points
$500,000 + 40 points
$750,000 + 60 points
$1M + 80 points



24 and under 15 points
25-29 years 20 points
30-39 years 20 points
40-49 years 20 points
50-59 years 10 points
60 and over 0 points


Business Location
Outside of Auckland: 40 points

Unique or new products or services to New Zealand: 30 points
For more information on applying for an Entrepreneur Work Visa for New Zealand, or to initial consult with a specialist immigration lawyer in Hamilton, please contact the Sharma Law team at +64 07 855 2663 .

Client testimonials

Your Success is our Success
01 09

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