The Entrepreneur Visa policy encourages applicants and their families to settle in New Zealand on temporary visas, based on the promise that, after a few years of running a successful business, they will be granted residence.
But the final decision becomes a “check box” process led by officials with no business experience and unwilling or unable to exercise any common sense discretion. At one level the consequence is heart-rending stories in the media of families being crushed; at another the scary statistics that in 2018 90% of applications were declined.
David Cooper, Malcolm Pacific’s director of client services, wrote to Immigration Minister Iain lees-Galloway a year ago saying, “the policy is not working - and people are being damaged.” But the government continues to say this policy is not a priority for them to fix; while talking up ways of extending policies into the regions.
“We need entrepreneurial migrants who have money, skills and enthusiasm to take over the hundreds of businesses that aging New Zealanders are wanting to sell as they retire”, Cooper says.
“By all means let’s have a regional focus. But before spreading the focus, let’s have some well-written basic policy…. and soon, before more people get hurt and New Zealand’s reputation for integrity is damaged.”