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NZ Government invites entrepreneurs to our shores with new visa

By Catherine Knowles, Tue 3 May 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The New Zealand Government is launching a new global impact visa that is designed to encourage entrepreneurs to set up shop in this country.

According to Graeme Muller, NZTech chief executive, the visa will expand the developing New Zealand story of resourcefulness, integrity and care for the people and land.

NZTech has been an advocate of the visa and has actively supported the visa development process over the past year. According to Muller, this new visa is a positive step in a series of steps needed to reach the goal of the late Sir Paul Callaghan, to make New Zealand 'a place where talent wants to live'.

Muller says, "We are a small country so the impact that a few high achieving young entrepreneurs could have over their lifetime is enormous. New Zealand is currently missing out on a key subset of global entrepreneurs and investors, who could add great value to our country and be contributing members of society, but don't meet New Zealand’s immigration criteria.

“While some of these criteria are applicable to many sectors, they are not conducive for attracting entrepreneurial talent in the current business landscape. The competition for the world's best entrepreneurs is huge, with countries like Chile, Ireland, Singapore and Australia launching similar initiatives.”

He says, “The difference with our Kiwi approach is that this is more than just a visa or a tax incentive. New Zealand will be actively searching for and attracting young entrepreneurs that have a track record, and who would like to make a global impact.

“This visa will expand on our developing New Zealand story of resourcefulness, integrity and care for the people and land. It will hopefully attract the future Elon Musks of the world who will see this as an opportunity to make a real impact.”

Muller says it’s great to see New Zealand ahead of Silicon Valley in considering immigration policy as a driver of innovation, as the United States has yet to develop any such policy that attracts foreign entrepreneurs wanting to start companies.

By attracting individuals who are driven by the desire to make a global impact and solve big problems, New Zealand can differentiate itself from other countries, and lead in the race for talent, according to NZTech.

Up to 400 global impact visas will be offered over a four-year pilot beginning later this year. Muller says New Zealand has been forced to diversify the economy, leading to an increasing focus on the high-value technology sector.

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