Retirement in New Zealand | New Zealand Pensions | New Zealand Superannuation
You may be able to retire to New Zealand provided you fulfill one of these criteria:
• Qualify for the temporary retirement category.
• Qualify for the parent retirement category (permanent residence).
• Qualify for permanent residence in one of the country’s normal immigration categories.
Temporary Retirement Category
This is a two year visitor visa which, importantly, is renewable. This visa is not for everyone, however. The main requirement is money, starting with the NZ$2,800 application fee.
If you do apply, you must fulfill all of the following before you can be approved under the Temporary Retirement Category:
• be aged 66 years or over;
• invest NZ$0.75 million in New Zealand for two years, in an acceptable investment;
• demonstrate ownership of NZ$0.5 million of maintenance funds and an annual income of NZ$60,000 at the time you apply;
• meet standard health and character requirements; and
• hold and maintain comprehensive travel and/or health insurance for the duration of your stay
Successful applicants will be issued with a two year multiple entry visitor’s visa/permit which allows them to stay for two years, and travel in and out of New Zealand during that time.
You can re-apply for another visitor’s permit/visa under this category if you:
• continue to meet all the requirements above; and
• can demonstrate that you have maintained your travel and/or health insurance and your investment funds in an acceptable investment during the two year duration of your stay.
You may include your partner in your application. Dependent children cannot be included.
Parent Retirement Category
This is a permanent residence visa. This visa is for parents of New Zealand citizens or residents who want to join their children in New Zealand. This visa operates on an expression of interest (EOI) basis. EOI’s go into a pool and there is a pool draw every three months. There is an annual allocation of approximately 4,000 places for this visa. Applicants must not have any dependent children.
Priority will be given to applicants (Tier One) who:
Have a guaranteed lifetime minimum income of NZ$27,203 per annum for a single person or NZ$39,890 per annum for a couple, or
Bring at least NZ$500,000 in settlement funds to New Zealand, or
Have a sponsoring adult child who has an annual income of at least NZ$65,000, or NZ$90,000 when combined with their partner’s income.
Tier One applicants are not be subject to a “centre of gravity” test whereby the number of adult children in New Zealand need to be at least as many as the adult children in the home country.
The time taken to process this visa is estimated at 18 months.
Tier Two applicants must
Have a sponsoring adult child who has an income of at least NZ$33,675 per annum, and
Any other children the applicant has must live outside the country in which the applicant lives.
The time taken to process this visa is estimated at up to 7 years.
An acceptable investment for the Parent Retirement Category is defined as investment that:
1. is in one or more of the following:
• bonds issued by the New Zealand government or local authorities, or
• bonds issued by New Zealand firms traded on the New Zealand Debt Securities Market (NZDX), or
• bonds issued by New Zealand firms with at least a BBB- or equivalent rating from internationally recognised credit rating agencies (for example, Standard and Poor’s), or
• equity in New Zealand firms (public or private), including managed funds, or
• bonds issued by New Zealand registered banks, or
• equities in New Zealand registered banks, or
• residential property development(s), or
• bonds in finance companies.
2. is capable of a commercial return under normal circumstances and has the potential to contribute to New Zealand’s economy, and
3. is invested in New Zealand in New Zealand currency, and
4. has the potential to contribute to New Zealand’s economy, and
5. is invested in lawful enterprises or managed funds that comply with all relevant laws in force in New Zealand, and
6. is not for the personal use of the applicant(s).
A significant number of people have obtained permanent residence as skilled workers while in their 50s with a view to working for a short time and then retiring in New Zealand.
Some have even come and never worked, retiring immediately using savings or an overseas pension to fund their new lives in New Zealand.
If you do obtain permanent residence in New Zealand, the following applies:
• In order to qualify for New Zealand superannuation (a pension paid by the government) you must have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since you turned 20. Five of these years must be since you turned 50.
• Time spent overseas in certain countries may be counted for New Zealand Superannuation.
• New Zealand has social security agreements with Australia, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Jersey/Guernsey, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom.
• People from the UK, for example, can use time spent in the UK / UK National Insurance payments to make themselves eligible for New Zealand Superannuation.
• If you are from one of the countries listed, you can download a NZ government guide to your eligibility for New Zealand superannuation.
• Superannuation is currently worth $20,803 gross per annum if you’re single or $15,724.80 gross for each person in a married/civil union/de facto couple.
• Superannuation is part of your taxable income and the amount you are paid will be reduced by the impact of income tax paid at your normal rate.
• New Zealand Superannuation is maintained between 65% and 72.5% of average full-time net earnings.
• By law, you can work to any age you want to in New Zealand.
• If you qualify for New Zealand Superannuation and work beyond the age of 65, you will receive both your pay and your NZ Superannuation payments.
• Any pension you get from an overseas government will probably be deducted from your NZ superannuation.
• Any pension you get from a former employer overseas will probably be paid in addition to your full NZ Superannuation.
Retiring to New Zealand
There are thirty questions and answers about retiring in New Zealand on this page: Retiring to New Zealand .