By Charlotte Greenfield
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand will double the amount of investment needed for permanent residency, the country's immigration minister said on Wednesday, while also increasing the number of visas it issues.
The 'Investor 2' visa will require NZ$3 million ($2.13 million) in investment from May next year and 400 places a year will be available, up from 300, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said in an emailed statement.
The move signals the government is taking a closer look into how to translate its migration policy into economic benefit.
New Zealand is in the midst of a migration boom, but fast-growing industries such as technology and construction have struggled to find enough high-skilled workers. This has left the central bank calling for the government to reconsider its strategy, concerned that the country is not attracting "quality" immigrants.
More than NZ$2.9 billion had been invested in the country since the visa was introduced in 2009, but two-thirds of this was poured into bonds, according to the government.
"The government believes there is an opportunity to rebalance this towards growth-oriented investments," Woodhouse said.
Requirements for the parallel 'Investor 1' visa, which requires NZ$10 million, are unchanged.
($1 = 1.4057 New Zealand dollars)
(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)