New Zealand introduces a retirement visa

Starting on the 29th March 2010, people hoping to retire in New Zealand will be able to apply for a returement visa.

The availability of retirement visas comes as good news to expatriates who are interested in retiring in New Zealand. Prior to the planned changes, anyone over the age of 56 were not permitted to reside in the country and there was no formal returement policy on offer.

The new visa, which will be offered to those aged over 65, will be available in two forms. For those who already have family in the country a “parent retirement visa” will be on offer. In order to qualify for the visa, retirements will be required to have at least NZ $1 Million in qualifying investments over a four year period, together with a $500,000 sum for maintenance and an income of at least $60,000 per year. In addition to this, those seeking the paremt visa will need to prove that they have a child already resident in the country, have the balance of their family in New Zealand, and have good health and character.

The second visa, the temporary retirement visa, will require $750,000 in qualifying investments, together with a $500,000 sum for maintenance and an income of at least $60,000 per year. The visa can be renewed on a bi-annual basis provided that all criteria is met. In order to qualify for the temporary retirement visa applicants also need to be over 65 and must hold comprehensive health insurance for the duration of their permit.

Speaking in UK newspaper The Telegraph, Christopher Noakes, from New Zealand immigration consultancy IMMagine, said that the new visa “marked an important change in visa legislation. Previous to this, British people could only really come to New Zealand under working visas, the cut off point of which was just 56.

“However, the amount of people who will take up this opportunity remains to be seen, as the financial requirements the government has imposed are very restrictive. It is unlikely many retired people will be able to find this much money, especially for more than two years.”

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