December 20th 2013 was the last day for submission of Long Term Business Visa applications. The replacement Visa (to be called Entrepreneur Work Visa) will not be introduced before March 2014.
The New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment reported in its December newsletter to members that Immigration New Zealand’s delay in introducing the replacement business visa policies is to clear a high backlog that developed under Long Term Business Visa.
The day before Immigration New Zealand’s announcement of the closure of the Long Term Business Visa, Business Migration Branch’s website stated that Long Term Business Visa allocation and processing times were tracking at 4 months for allocation with only 43% of applications being processed within 90 days.
A source at Immigration New Zealand Customer Services confirmed that meant processed within 90 days from allocation – not lodgement. Effectively therefore, less than 50% of Long Term Business Visa applications were being decided within 7 months of being lodged.
The result is there is a three month hiatus before new business visa applications can be lodged.
Immigration New Zealand has some helpful advice on how prospective migrants can use this time to their advantage:
“People who are interested in applying for a visa to start their own business in New Zealand are advised to put their efforts into market research and compiling a strong business plan that will have a good chance of being approved under new category”.