Number of wealthy investors interested in buying 'golden passports' to New Zealand skyrockets

Fears of volatility mean affluent overseas investors are interested in moving to New Zealand.
Fears of volatility mean affluent overseas investors are interested in moving to New Zealand. Photo credit: Getty Images

Fears of COVID-19 and conflict mean many wealthy overseas investors are interested in buying "golden passports" to gain citizenship in New Zealand.

Golden passports or visas are a way for affluent foreigners to receive citizenship or residency in another country in exchange for investing millions.

With the high amount of uncertainty in the current climate, the number of billionaires seeking citizenship has skyrocketed as they look for a 'plan B'.

Henley and Partners, a firm that helps people buy residence and citizenship by investment, told Newshub there has been a significant increase in interest in New Zealand residency.

A spokesperson from the company said there was an 87 percent increase from 2018 to 2019 in the total number of people approaching Henley and Partners about the New Zealand programme.

The spokesperson said this leapt up by a further 50 percent in 2020 and then plateaued slightly with only a small increase in interest in 2021.

The top three nationalities inquiring about New Zealand are India, Sri Lanka and the United States, followed by the Phillippines and South Africa.

According to their website, there are two ways someone can invest in New Zealand. 

Residence can be obtained through investing between $3 million for an Investor 2 resident visa and $10 million for an Investor 1 resident visa and both investments have to be maintained for at least three to four years.

However, for an Investor 2 residency applicants must be experienced business people younger than 65 and able to speak English.

Head of private clients at Henley and Partners Dominic Volek told the Insider private clients were worried about the four Cs: "COVID-19, climate change, cryptocurrency and conflict."

The company's spokesperson told Newshub that New Zealand has become a "very sought" destination due to its "excellent management" of the pandemic.

"Despite the slight plateau in 2021, it was still a record-breaking year for us in terms of the number of NZ enquiries and if they remain at current levels we are experiencing, 2022 is on track to exceed 2021."

The company website says New Zealand offers an attractive destination for investment, business and raising a family and is one of the most "stable and well-governed nations".