. Settling down in New Zealand post retirement and transferring pension funds to QROPS New Zealand has always been a favorable option for UK expats thanks to the lenient tax regulations of New Zealand. Earlier, though financial regulations were not that stringent, the New Zealand government did not have any fixed retirement policy and hence did not accept British expats over the age of 56. If the British immigrants wished to settle down permanently in New Zealand, they had to apply for a work visa well before they turned 56 and consequently transfer their UK pension funds to QROPS New Zealand.
With the New Zealand government laying down a new retirement policy in March, 2010, the British expats aged 56 and above can now apply for two types of retirement visas:
Temporary retirement visa for those expats who have no relatives in New Zealand.
Parent retirement visa for those expats who have family in New Zealand.
According to the new provisions, British expats holding temporary retirement visa can reside up to two years in New Zealand provided they invest a part of their QROPS New Zealand pension fund. The rules require the expats to have an annual income of at least $ 60,000 from their QROPS New Zealand pension fund and other investments. They also have to invest $ 500,000 for maintenance and NZ$ 750,000 i.e. 345,000 in other qualifying investments. After the completion of the two year period, the temporary retirement visa comes up for renewal provided the visa holders meet the criteria.
In case of parent retirement visa, the expats can apply for permanent residency provided equal or more members of their family reside in New Zealand than in any other country. Even parent retirement visa holders have to make investments. The rules require these expats to have an annual income of $ 60,000 from their QROPS New Zealand pension fund. They are also required to invest $ 500,000 for maintenance and a minimum of NZ$ one million over four years in qualifying investments.
Due to the various benefits offered by QROPS New Zealand, the British expats form the largest section of migrants in New Zealand. With nearly 17 percent of the UK expats granted permanent residency, currently there are about 215,000 British immigrants residing in New Zealand. But according to statistics from the New Zealand Governments Department of Labor, the migration rate has come down due to the recent economic crisis.