New Pathway to Australian Residency for Investors

The Australian Government has announced a new visa pathway for migrant investors coming to Australia.

In a move to simplify business migration and attract more foreign investment, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has reduced the number of visa subclasses from thirteen to three.

The newly named Business Innovation and Investment Program will consist of the following visa subclasses

  • Business Talent (Permanent) (subclass 132) – A state or territory sponsored permanent visa for high calibre business owners.
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (subclass 188) – A state or territory sponsored provisional visa with no minimum English requirement and is valid for four years.  This visa is used as a pathway to permanent  residency through the visa subclass 888 shown below.
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) (subclass 888) – A state or territory nominated permanent visa that is not points tested.

Of these subclasses the Business Innovation and Investment Provisional (subclass 188) is expected to be the most highly used method of business migration.  It consists of three streams:

  • The Business Innovation stream – For people who want to own and manage a new or existing business in Australia.
  • The Investor stream – For people who want to make a designated investment of at least $1.5 million in an Australian state or territory and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.
  • The Significant Investor stream – For people who are willing to invest at least $5million into complying investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.

The newly announced Significant Investor Visa stream provides the biggest opportunity for high net worth individuals looking to migrate to Australia.  Under this stream migrant investors will be required to invest $5million into complying investments for a minimum of four years before being eligible to apply for a permanent visa.

Complying investments include:  Commonwealth, State or Territory government bonds, Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) regulated managed funds with a mandate for investing in Australia and direct investment into Australian proprietary companies.  Visa applicants may hold investments in each of the above investment options in any proportion and may also change between complying investments, provided they meet specified reinvestment requirements.

Crucially, Significant Investor Visa applicants do not need to satisfy the innovation points test, will not be required to speak English and there are no upper age limits.  Additionally, migrants will be allowed to extend their provisional visas by up to 2 years if they need more time to establish their business in Australia before applying for permanent residence.

It is expected that the relaxing of the eligibility requirements for migrants prepared to invest over $5 million in Australia will significantly increase the number of applicants and better align migration with Australia’s economic development.

If you have a client considering migrating to Australia under the Business Innovation and Investment Program our advisors can assist in developing a strategy for investment that complies with the application criteria.