New Zealand has a new visa to lure tech skills – here’s how you can apply

The New Zealand government recently made changes to its new Global Impact Visa (GIV), which is specifically designed to lure entrepreneurs, investors and tech start-ups.

The visa aims to attract those with the “drive and capability to launch global ventures from New Zealand”, who may not be able to qualify for other visa categories.

“They will have the combination of drive, risk appetite and global connections which enables them to launch or significantly contribute to successful innovation-based ventures in New Zealand.”

“Eligibility for GIVs is conditional on meeting a number of criteria. Selected applicants will be assessed on the basis of their acceptance into EHF’s programme, English language, health and character, and having sufficient funds to support themselves,” it said.

The document is for a three-year work visa that offers a path to permanent residency.

The recently reworked visa forms part of a fresh push by the New Zealand government to bring tech skills into the country, with one advert even offering a $400,000 salary for a national Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

While the GIV is slightly limited in that it available to only 400 ‘individual pioneering entrepreneurs and investors’ every year, its a notable increase from the original 2016 offering of just 100 spots.

The visa is open to people of all nationalities, countries, ages, and stages of entrepreneurial journey – which means it is open to South African entrepreneurs and tech professionals who have their sights on working abroad.

It has no minimum days required in New Zealand each year, and entrepreneurs are not tied to one specific business plan.

The benefits of the Global Impact Visa include additional visas for your family (spouse/partner and dependents), access to public health care services and public education for your children, and the flexibility to travel internationally and plan your move to New Zealand gradually.

It grants permanent residency after three years, and sets you on the path to citizenship.

According to recent Pew Research data, New Zealand is the fourth most popular destination for South African emigrants – behind Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Unites States.

According to the 2013 New Zealand Census, South Africans make up the fifth largest source of New Zealand immigrants behind the United Kingdom, China, India, and Australia in a country of a total population of less than five million.

How to apply

The Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) is responsible for identifying entrepreneurs who could have a significant impact on New Zealand’s innovation system, while Immigration New Zealand is responsible for processing and making decisions on visas.

To be eligible for a Global Impact Visa, applicants must first obtain entry into EHF’s programme. Once nominated for acceptance into EHF, candidates are able to apply for a Global Impact Visa.

Selected applicants will be assessed on the basis of their acceptance into EHF’s programme, English language, health and character, and having sufficient funds to support themselves.

As per the EHF’s application information, acceptance into the fellowship is based on a competitive application process that is determined by an independent panel.

You can either apply as an entrepreneur – with your plan on how you will address challenges in New Zealand’s society over the long term – or as an investor, showing your commitment to such projects.

Applicants also have to pay certain fees, with successful candidates paying between $2,000 (entrepreneurs) and $8,000 (investors) upon acceptance.

Read: The best companies to work for in South Africa

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