Last year New Zealand joined the list of countries with a trade treaty with the U.S.
New Zealand does not yet appear on the Department of State’s list of treaty countries. However, a DOS fact sheet on the Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors (KIWI) Act states that New Zealanders are eligible for the E-1 Visa for Treaty Traders and E-2 Visa for Treaty Investors. The KIWI Act also grants reciprocal treatment to U.S. citizens.
Visa Options for New Zealand Companies
The KIWI Act opens up opportunities for New Zealand companies to transfer employees to open an office in the U.S.
The E-1 visa allows foreign nationals whose home country has a treaty with the U.S. to come to the U.S. to work in international trade—the exchange of goods, services or technology—on their own or for an employer. The E-2 visa allows foreign nationals whose home country has a trade treaty with the U.S. to come to the U.S. when investing capital in a U.S. business. Employees of the investor or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for E-1 and E-2 visas.
Visa Options in New Zealand
The KIWI Act also opens up opportunities for U.S. companies to transfer foreign workers who cannot renew or otherwise obtain U.S. visas, such as those who are not selected in the H-1B lottery, to work or open an office in New Zealand. Of course, companies can also hire foreign workers outright in New Zealand.
New Zealand offers temporary visas to professionals that have skills and experience in specific areas that the country needs, such as engineering, science, health, and construction. New Zealand awards this skilled migrant visa based on factors including job offer, age, experience, qualifications, English language proficiency, health, and character.
The country also offers an entrepreneur work visa for individuals who move to New Zealand to buy or establish a business and invest at least NZ$100,000 in the business.
In addition, New Zealand offers investment visas. For a minimum investment of NZ$3 million over a four-year period, an individual can obtain an investment visa.
Individuals who have been living in New Zealand for at least five years are eligible to apply for citizenship.
Visa Options for U.S. Companies
After an employee works in New Zealand for at least one year, a company can sponsor the employee for one of the following U.S. visas:
- L-1A Intracompany Transferee Managers and Executives
- L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge Workers.
- EB-1C Green Card for Multinational Managers and Executives
- E-2 visa if the individual is a citizen of New Zealand.
Reach out to us if you would like more information. The Alcorn Immigration Law team closely monitors immigration developments here and abroad. We can help you, your company or your employees use visa options in the U.S. and New Zealand. The team takes pride in its creativity. We can help determine the best options for you, your company, your employees or your family.