Australia: Government to Reform Visa System to Attract More Investors and Entrepreneurs
A new Significant Investor visa program and reforms to the Business Skills visa program seek to attract high net worth investors and entrepreneurs who have a demonstrated history of innovation and success in business.
In an effort to attract more foreign investment and start-up businesses, the Australian government will introduce a new permanent residence program for investors of AUD5 million or more and will reform the existing Business Skills visa program to provide more temporary and permanent options for entrepreneurs and investors.
The Significant Investor Visa
The Significant Investor visa will be available to foreign business people who invest at least AUD5 million in Australia. The investment must be made in state or territory bonds, regulated managed funds, or direct investment in Australian companies. Significant Investor visa applicants will not be required to pass a points-based test.
It is anticipated that the Significant Investor visa will become available sometime in the 2012-13 program year, which starts July 1.
Other New Options for Investors and Entrepreneurs
Effective July 1, 2012, the Business Skills visa program used by foreign business people to establish or manage a business or investment in Australia will be reformed and renamed the Business Innovation and Investment Visa Program. The program will be streamlined, with the number of visa subcategories reduced to three from 13, and be more flexible to better meet the needs of start-up companies and entrepreneurs.
There will be a new eligibility pathway to the existing Business Talent (subclass 132) permanent visa category for entrepreneurs who have secured at least AUD1 million in funding from an Australian venture capital firm.
A Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) provisional visa category will be open to business people with a proven investment history who are willing to hold a investment of AUD1.5 million in state or territory government bonds for four years. Foreign nationals may also qualify for the subclass 188 visa by passing a redesigned, business-focused points test, under which applicants with a history of business innovation earn points for attributes such as registered patents, designs or trademarks, joint venture agreements, export trade and receipt of grants or venture capital funding. The subclass 188 visa can lead to permanent residence under the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) (subclass 888) category for those who have a proven record of business success in Australia and meet standard permanent residence requirements.
Applicants will be selected through SkillSelect, Australia’s new visa application process for many skilled workers and business people. SkillSelect is a two-stage application process. First, prospective applicants file an Expression of Interest online. If the applicant meets minimum eligibility requirements, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will invite the applicant to submit a full visa application. All applications under the Business Innovation and Investment Visa Program will also require a nomination from the state or territory government in which the visa applicant proposes to reside.
This alert is for informational purposes only. For more information on these changes, please contact Cherie Wright by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +61 2 8224 8572 or the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen in Australia or send an email to email@example.com.