Attracting Talent: New Zealand Introduces Global Impact Visa for Bright Minds

New Zealand has recently introduced the so-called Global Impact Visa, an unconventional new residence permit which aims to attract future global changemakers to the country. Rather than on financial capital, applicants are accepted on the basis of their ability to have a positive impact on future societies.


Those who wish to obtain a Global Impact Visa are required to be accepted by the Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF). The EHF presents itself as a community of high-impact entrepreneurs, investors and changemakers who are devoted to building a better world.

Applicants are selected by a panel on the basis of their vision, drive and their ability to contribute to New Zealand and its start-up ecosystem. Accepted fellows receive intensive guidance for the realization of their ventures over a period of several years.


Accepted fellows can obtain a Global Impact Visa as long as they are proficient in English, have a good character and are in acceptable health and have sufficient funds to sustain themselves or the ability to earn that income themselves. The conditions under which the visa is granted are highly beneficial, as it is a three-year visa which includes an open work permit. There is no minimum residence requirement in place in order to provide the applicant enhanced flexibility. In addition to that, the spouse of the applicant and his dependents are also applicable for a residence permit (including a work permit) and/or a student visa.


The introduction of the Global Impact Visa fits in a broader pattern of the increasingly common start-up visas for promising entrepreneurs and ‘angel visas’ for potential business investors. Nevertheless, New Zealand’s approach remains unique, as it focuses on positive potential impact rather than economic potential alone. New Zealand’s Global Impact Visa could therefore be a prime example of how cross-border mobility can be utilized for accelerating innovation and global change.


Author: Luuk van der Baaren

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