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Starting A Business In New Zealand

Starting A Business In New Zealand

There are various kinds of business opportunities in New Zealand, which is why business owners and entrepreneurs alike seek to do business there. The country’s laissez-faire approach to both personal and corporate tax rates gives it mass appeal to entrepreneurs, business owners and corporate development partners. As a result, New Zealand has consistently ranked at the top of The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, which ranks global economies based on indicators that are indicative of a given job market, such as obtaining credit, protecting investors, quality control, and registering property or permits.

As a country with a notably open market, New Zealand makes for a great business environment. And whether you are a small business or a limited liability company (LLC), you can reap numerous benefits from joining the New Zealand economy with your own business for years to come.

Why Start a Business in New Zealand?

There are many benefits of starting or owning a business in New Zealand. On top of being one of the easiest places in the world to do business, New Zealand is also one of the easiest countries to start a business venture.

This is predominantly due to the fact that the country has very minimal restrictions on establishing and conducting business in New Zealand. In fact, business owners and startups can officiate their business name in a matter of hours through the government’s online application tools.

The country has a strong economy backed by an open market that caters to entrepreneurs and investors alike. Additionally, regulatory efficiency ensures low corporate tax rates, investor protection and other benefits, such as monetary incentives, soft regulatory policies and high transparency.

Moreover, trade freedoms greatly benefit foreign business owners who opt not to relocate and reside in the country. For those who prefer to conduct business on-site, New Zealand is ripe with sound infrastructure and networks to propel your business venture into sustainable success.

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The process of starting a business in New Zealand will vary based on the type of business you intend to start, whether you want to move there, and if you already own a foreign business that you want to expand to New Zealand.

In general, these are the eight steps to take to start your business:

  1. Confirm your business idea is viable and that it will work.
  2. Declare a company name and domain name for your business.
  3. Choose a business structure:
  • Sole Trader: Business is conducted solely by the owner.
  • Partnership: Business is conducted in collaboration with other industry professionals and is often used within the agricultural industry.
  • Limited Liability: Business is conducted as a sole entity with legal separation from any existing shareholders and owners.
  1. Use the RealMe New Zealand government login tool to officiate your business.
  2. Obtain a New Zealand business number.
  3. Secure a business name.
  4. Double-check regulations and policies, and that your business operational procedures will comply.
  5. Officially register your own business.

How to Immigrate to New Zealand and Start a Business

The key legal requirements of moving to New Zealand and starting a business vary depending on your venture. If your goal is to work at a business you own, your visa will have different requirements than others.

Entrepreneur visas are commonly used for this purpose. They enable you to establish a business in New Zealand and be self-employed at your place of business while residing in the country.

Requirements for this type of visa include a viable business plan proposal and a clean business and banking history that is without bankruptcy, business failure or any fraud. There are also English language proficiency requirements and health and character qualifications. Additionally, there is a minimum capital investment of NZ$100,000 required.

From there, your Entrepreneur Residence Category will permit you to legally work and permanently reside within New Zealand as long as you have established growth within your business. Your business must also provide export potential in the country. There are two ways to qualify for residence under this policy. One requires self-employment for at least two years, wherein your business contributes to the economy. The second, faster track option requires that you invest a minimum of NZ$500,000 in your business plan and create three full-time jobs for New Zealand citizens or residents.

Some of the essential steps for immigrating to the country and starting your business as a resident includes the following.

  1. First, determine if you want to apply for either a visa or New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).
  2. Next, visit the New Zealand Immigration website to explore visa options for living permanently. Select the visa option to work or invest in New Zealand depending on your business venture.
  3. Afterward, you will be asked to specify your origin as traveling from Australia, traveling from the Cook Islands, traveling from Niue, traveling from another country or presently in New Zealand.
  4. Then, you will be asked to disclose whether you have a job offer within the country, the country of your passport and your age.
  5. You will be provided with visa options available to you depending on your information. If a business or investor visa is not optimal or available for you, there are other available options to explore. There is a Global Impact Visa (GIV), specific to innovative business ventures, which requires a few more qualifications to obtain. There are also other visa alternatives, including resident visas, work visas and student visas.
  6. Check that you meet the criteria for your visa option and confirm that it is the right choice for you. Each option will provide you with information about how long you can stay in the country and what you can do while residing there. The website will also provide you with detailed information pertaining to who to include in your residence application, opening and closing dates and times for the application process, and what to expect after the visa application.
  7. Afterward, you will be provided with additional details and can proceed to apply.

Resources are available to assist you with planning your move to New Zealand. Dig-deeper into related topics for launching a business or investing into New Zealand, browse qualified Advisors and more.

Maybe moving is not ideal for you in the long run, or you just prefer to operate remotely. If this is the case, there is good news. Thanks to New Zealand’s flexible regulations, the government permits businesses to operate remotely in the country so long as they meet a few requirements. This includes but is not limited to appointing at least one director who is a New Zealand resident, having a physical address in the country to serve as the registered office for the business, and delegating a staff member to be compliant with the country’s regulations.

You should expect inspectors from the New Zealand Companies Office or other government agencies to inspect your company’s New Zealand registered office to ensure compliance is maintained over time. Routine inspections typically involve a representative from the Companies Office.

Similarly, investors are permitted to conduct business internationally as long as particular criteria are met. This includes having a minimum number of years of business experience, passing English proficiency requirements, applying for ESOL tuition and being under the age of 65. Once your visa to conduct your international venture is approved, you will be permitted to operate with the same benefits of the local economy, such as that of local and resident investors. However, there might be additional income taxes that your business could incur when assets are distributed to foreign shareholders.

Get Help Relocating to New Zealand


From browsing qualified Advisors in New Zealand to requesting consultations, the experts on Relocate can provide you with personalized solutions for all your global business needs. Just have a quick question? No problem. Simply submit general inquiries to the qualified network of Advisors in New Zealand today.

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