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New visa hoped to lure entrepreneurs

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/09/2016 Sophie Boot

The government has picked the Edmund Hillary Fellowship to work with Immigration New Zealand on a new visa which it hopes will attract young entrepreneurs to the country.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse announced the plan for the global impact visa in April. The visa will be run as a four-year pilot and limited to 400 people over that period, beginning early next year.

In a cabinet paper from April, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment proposed the visa to offer a work-to-residence pathway where migrant entrepreneurs would first get a work visa with open conditions, with the ability to apply for a permanent resident visa after three years.

The current policies for investors and entrepreneurs were working well, the ministry said, but weren't designed to bring in innovative, global entrepreneurs who New Zealand needs to support its growth.

They miss out younger entrepreneurs who lack investment capital, start-up teams whose value as a team can't be assessed by current policies, and experienced global entrepreneurs who can't liquidate their assets to meet the investor policy nor commit to spending two years here full-time for one business as is required under the entrepreneur policy.

Edmund Hillary Fellowship is co-run by Kiwi Connect, a Wellington-based organisation which seeks to promote and connect entrepreneurship in New Zealand, and the non-profit Hillary Institute for International Leadership.

Woodhouse said up to 80 New Zealand entrepreneurs and investors will be accepted into Edmund Hillary Fellowship over the four years, which will provide an opportunity for collaboration with migrants using this visa.

David Cooper, an immigration adviser at Malcolm Pacific Immigration, welcomed the initiative, saying "the government needs to experiment a little bit more in the immigration space".

"There are definitely some gaps in the policy for people who want to come to New Zealand and make a contribution, but may not have all of the money in order to do that," Cooper said.

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