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Business migration should be smarter, better

An expert on immigration (mostly dubious) tells us that there are four doors available to potential migrants from most countries.

“The main door takes years to open and the queue is too long to endure. It is therefore quicker to use one of the three side-doors. You can enter as a student and stay forever; become a refugee or seek a business visa.”

Arguably, not all students, not all refugees and not all business migrants want to live in New Zealand to become citizens and move across the Tasman to become Australian residents. Many seek our shores for genuine reasons.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is obviously not happy with the way in which the Business Visa category has been working. Believing as he does that there is a need to revamp the system, plug its loopholes and make it easier for genuine businesses to make a quality difference he has taken a new proposal to the Cabinet.

Largely ineffective

Immigration Advisor and Indian Newslink commentator Saif Shaikh has analysed the proposal (see Homelink in this issue), saying that the existing Business Visa regime has been largely ineffective.

“Studies show that a majority of migrants own and manage businesses with very limited growth prospects. They also tend to gravitate towards the large cities like Auckland,” he said.

According to Mr Woodhouse, business migration policy provides a point of difference to other mechanisms for bringing people with experience of running their own business into New Zealand. As well as supplying capital, Business Visa policy can welcome people with new ideas, entrepreneurial flair, overseas networks, and business experience.

He said that more than 500 businesspersons come to New Zealand every year to gain residence by establishing or expanding a business.

The changes

The new policy, expected to become operational later this month, will witness the following changes:

The Long Term Business Visa (LTBV) will be renamed as ‘Entrepreneur Work Visa’ (EWV) and Entrepreneur Visa will be called, ‘Entrepreneur Residential Visa’ (ERV).

The ‘Entrepreneur Plus Visa’ will be disestablished.

Mr Woodhouse said that the Business Visa policy has not been reviewed since 1999 and that the need for a change was apparent.

We believe that while the immigration regime in its entirety needs an overhaul, business visa policy should be better and smarter.

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