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The Ultimate Guide To Business Investment Visa Australia

The Ultimate Guide To Business Investment Visa Australia

The Ultimate Guide To Australia's Business Investment Visa

Recent Update: Amendments in Business Innovation and Investment Visa Program

Please be informed that the Australian government has made improvements to the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP), which aims to boost investment and create jobs in key sectors of the economy. The amendments to Australia Business and Investor visas, which take effect on July 1, 2021, include a reduction in the number of streams in the BIIP from nine to four. The eligibility criteria are also being changed. The number of places allocated to the BIIP in 2020-21 has nearly doubled compared to the previous year, to 13,500.

The following are the most significant changes:

From July 1, 2021, the following four visa streams will be available:

  • Innovation in Business
  • Entrepreneur
  • Investor
  • Significant Investor

Provisional visas will be valid for five years.

After three years, each visa stream would have a path to permanent residency. Beginning July 1, 2021, the Premium Investor, Significant Business History and Venture Capital Entrepreneur visa streams will be phased out.

Holders of the Business Innovation and Significant Investor visas will be able to extend their provisional visas if they meet certain criteria.

The minimum business assets needed to be retained will increase to $1.25 million, and the annual turnover level will be increased to $750,000 for the Business Innovation visa stream.

Applicants for the Entrepreneur Visa Stream will no longer be required to meet the $200,000 funding requirement. Applicants will need a government endorsement from a state or territory.

You can read more about this announcement in a press release issued by Alan Tudge, the former acting minister for immigration, citizenship, migrant services and multicultural affairs, by clicking on this link: Getting A Better Deal For Australia From Business & investment Visas.

Individuals seeking to create, operate or invest in a business, or invent a product or service for commercialization in Australia should apply for a business (investment) visa. This program offers both temporary and permanent visa options, with both requiring you to be nominated by a state or territory government (or by a specified government agency in certain cases).

Another popular feature is that you must first request a visa invitation before you can continue with your application. This is facilitated through the expression of interest (EOI) process, which you must apply to the department as a first step, along with an application for appointment to the appropriate state or territory authority.

The Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) subclass 188 visa is a temporary residency visa that allows you to stay in Australia for up to four years and three months, with options to extend the visa term depending on the visa stream for which you apply. If you have kept the temporary visa for between one to four years, you can apply for the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) subclass 888 visa, which allows you to stay in the country permanently if certain conditions are met.

There are five streams in the subclass 188 visa, plus two additional “extension” streams for the temporary visa term. Each stream lays out the conditions for obtaining the visa, which could include spending a certain amount of money in Australia or forming a funding arrangement with a third party to carry out the proposed business operation. To apply, you will need to pass a points exam. This test will assign you a score based on your age, qualifications, the financial value of your assets (combined with your partner’s) and the turnover of your company.

Alternatively, you can apply for a Business Talent (Permanent) subclass 132 visa, which is a permanent resident visa that allows you to stay in Australia indefinitely. It has two visa sources and allows you to show that you have the required assets and turnover, or that you have received a certain amount of venture capital funding to run a new or established company in Australia.

You may also apply for dependent visas for qualified family members to accompany you to Australia. They must meet visa grant conditions, which include health and character requirements. Both visa subclasses also allow you and your dependents to enter and leave Australia freely during the visa period.

The South Australian Entrepreneur Visa, a pilot program aimed at encouraging creative business projects in Australia, was also introduced by the government. It began on Nov. 21, 2018, and will end in November 2021.

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Subclass 188 Visa

The subclass 188 visa contains the following streams:

  • Significant Investor Extension
  • Premium Investor
  • Entrepreneur
  • Business Innovation
  • Investor
  • Significant Investor
  • Business Innovation Extension

The following are the key conditions that must be fulfilled to submit a valid application for a subclass 188 visa:

  1. An invitation to apply for a subclass 188 visa must have been sent to you.
  2. You must submit your visa application within the 60-day timeframe specified in the invitation.
  3. A state or territory government department must appoint you (or Austrade, where applicable).
  4. The application must be submitted online via ImmiAccount on the department’s website.
  5. It is necessary to pay the correct application fee. Further information is provided later in this guide on that.

You must have either a substantive visa or a Bridging A, B, or C visa if you are applying from onshore. You will not be allowed to apply for a subclass 188 visa in Australia if your new visa is subject to condition 8503, which is “No Further Stay,” though exceptions may apply. If you’re applying for the extension stream, keep in mind that there are some additional criteria to meet. The conditions for obtaining a subclass 188 visa differ depending on which stream you apply for, as detailed below.

POPULATION

65 Million

CAPITAL

London

CURRENCY

Pound Sterling

LANGUAGE

English

Table Of Contents

Business Innovation Stream

For the Business Innovation stream, the following visa grant requirements apply:

  • An invitation to apply for a subclass 188 visa must have been sent to you.
  • You must be under the age of 55 at the time the invitation is sent (there is an exception where the nominating State or Territory government agency has determined that your proposed business or investment activity is of exceptional economic benefit to that State or Territory).
  • Pass the points test with a score of at least 65.
  • You must have had an ownership interest in an existing company of at least $500,000 in turnover in each of the last two financial years before being invited to apply for the visa.
  • Have at least one of the following business ownership interests:
  • If the annual turnover is less than $400,000, you’ll get a 51% discount.
  • If the annual turnover is $400,000 or higher, you’ll get a 30% discount.
  • If the company is publicly traded, the percentage increases to 10%.
  • Have a long and prosperous business career.
  • Have a sincere desire to own and run a business in Australia for the rest of your life.
  • Demonstrate that you need to be a resident of Australia in order to start or run your proposed company.
  • If you run a company that offers educational, technological, or trade services, you must have spent at least half of your time doing so (as opposed to the general management of the business).
  • You and your partner must have a combined cumulative net business and personal assets of at least $800,000 at the time of invitation, all of which must have been legally obtained and be eligible for legal transfer to Australia within two years of visa grant.
  • Apart from the assets listed above, your nominating state or territory government entity must be satisfied that the total net business and personal assets held by you and your wife are adequate to enable you to settle in Australia.
  • You and your spouse (if applicable) must not have engaged in any unethical corporate or investment practices. There are also health and character standards.

Your proposed business operation must be a qualifying business, which means it is run to make money by selling goods and services.

You must make a firm commitment to either start a new qualifying company or join one that already exists in Australia. This dedication includes keeping a significant ownership stake in the company and participating in day-to-day management. This will include making decisions that impact the company’s overall course and results in a way that benefits the Australian economy.

Investor Stream

The Investor stream is subject to the following visa grant requirements:

  • An invitation to apply for a subclass 188 visa must have been sent to you.
  • You must be under the age of 55 at the time you collect the invitation (there is an exception where the nominating State or Territory government agency has determined that your proposed business or investment activity is of exceptional economic benefit to that State or Territory).
  • Pass the points test with a score of at least 65.
  • Concerning the qualified investment or qualifying business operation, possess high-level management skills.
  • Have at least three years of direct management experience with one or more qualified businesses or investments.
  • Have a track record of making good investments or running a qualifying business.
  • Make a sincere and practical commitment to continue the business and investment activities in Australia after the initial investment matures.
  • Have a sincere desire to live for at least two years in the state or territory where you have made a specified investment.
  • Have specifically supervised one of the following for at least one of the five financial years prior to being invited to apply for the visa:
  • a qualified company in which you owned at least 10%.
  • You must own at least $1.5 million in qualifying investments.
  • You must have at least $2.25 million in business, savings and personal assets in the two financial years prior to being invited to apply for the visa (and which can be legally transferred to Australia within two years of the visa being granted).
  • Make a specified investment of at least $1.5 million in a state or territory government protection (using funds accumulated from qualified companies or eligible investments) and be willing to keep that investment for at least four years in your nominating state or territory from the date of issue.
  • You haven’t been tied to any unethical conduct.
  • There are also health and character requirements.

Significant Investor Stream

To be granted a visa under the Significant Investor stream, you must meet the following immigration requirements:

  • An invitation to apply for a subclass 188 visa must have been sent to you.
  • You must live in the state or territory where you choose to be nominated.
  • After the duration of your temporary subclass 188 visa expires, you can resume your business and investment activities in Australia.
  • While on a subclass 188 visa, you must spend at least 40 days per year (cumulatively) in Australia.
  • Your net assets (together with your partner) must be worth at least $5.0 million and can be used to make the necessary investment in Australia.
  • You and your spouse must have not engaged in any unethical corporate or investment practices.
  • You must make a significant investment of at least $5 million over four years to meet the requirements, which are as follows: at least $500,000 in venture capital and development private equity funds that invest in small businesses and start-ups; at least $1.5 million in approved managed funds that invest in emerging companies listed on the ASX; a minimum $3 million balancing investment in managed funds that may invest in a variety of properties, such as ASX-listed firms, Australian corporate bonds or securities, annuities and commercial real estate.
  • There are also health and character requirements.

Premium Investor Stream

For a visa under the Premium Investor stream, you must meet the following immigration requirements:

  • An invitation to apply for a subclass 188 visa must have been sent to you.
  • Austrade, on behalf of the Australian government, has approved the nomination.
  • Invest at least $15 million in a designated complying fund, such as assets listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, Australian real estate (excluding residential property), or deferred annuities provided by Australian registered life companies.
  • If your temporary visa expires, make a sincere and practical commitment to continue your business and investment activities in Australia.
  • Your net assets (together with your partner) must be worth at least $15 million in order to make the necessary investment in Australia.
  • You and your spouse have not engaged in any unethical corporate or investment practices.
  • In addition, you must fulfill the health and character criteria.

Entrepreneur Stream

For a visa under the Entrepreneur stream, you must meet the following immigration requirements:

  • An invitation to apply for a subclass 188 visa must have been sent to you.
  • You must be under the age of 55 at the time you collect the invitation. (Note: There is an exception where the nominating state or territory government agency has determined that your proposed business or investment activity is of exceptional economic benefit to that state or territory).
  • Have an excellent command of the English language. There are specified requirements for achieving this English competency level.
  • Engage in or propose to engage in a compliant entrepreneur operation in Australia, with the real intent to continue doing so.
  • There are also health and character requirements.

An activity that relates to a creative concept that will contribute to the commercialization of a product or service in Australia, or the establishment of an enterprise or company in Australia, is referred to as a complying entrepreneur activity.

This activity cannot include any of the following:

  • Purchase of an existing enterprise or franchise in Australia
  • Labor hire
  • Residential real estate

If any of the following conditions are met, an activity is considered a complying entrepreneur activity:

  • You have one or more legally enforceable agreements with a commonwealth government entity, state or territory government, publicly funded research organization, investor registered as an Australian venture capital limited partnership or an early-state venture capital limited partnership, or a specified higher education provider to obtain funding totaling at least $200,000.
  • At least 10% of the funding must be paid within 12 months of the operation starting in Australia, according to the agreement.
  • When you signed the deal, you owned at least a 30% stake in the entrepreneurial entity.
  • Have a business plan for the entrepreneurial organization that explains how your creative concept can lead to the commercialization of a product or service in Australia or the establishment of a company or business in Australia.

Pathway To Permanent Residency For Subclass 188 Visa Holders

If you meet certain conditions and have kept a temporary subclass 188 visas for a certain period, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through subclass 888. When you can apply for a permanent resident visa will depend on which stream you apply under.

Business Talent Subclass 132 Visa

This visa is intended for people who want to start a new company or expand an existing one in Australia. The following streams make up the subset 132 visa:

  • Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream.

  • Significant Business History stream

This visa does not require a points test.

The following are the key conditions that must be met in order to submit a valid application for a subclass 132 visa:

  • An invitation to apply for a subclass 132 visa must have been sent to you.

  • You must submit your visa application within the 60-day timeframe specified in the invitation.

  • A state or territory government department must appoint you.

  • The application must be submitted online via ImmiAccount on the department’s website.

  • It is necessary to pay the correct application fee (further information is provided later in this guide).

  • You must have either a substantive visa or a Bridging A, B, or C visa if you are applying from onshore. You will not be allowed to apply for a subclass 188 visa in Australia if your new visa is subject to condition 8503, which is the “No Further Stay” (but exceptions may apply).

The conditions for obtaining a subclass 132 visa differ depending on which stream you apply for, as detailed below.

Significant Business History Stream

The Significant Business History stream has the following visa grant conditions (all values referred to below are for you and your partner combined):

  • For at least two of the last four financial years immediately before being invited to apply for the visa, you must have total net assets of at least $400,000 as an ownership interest in one or more qualified companies.
  • You must own at least 10% of the total issued capital of the eligible business if it is a publicly traded firm.
  • Net personal and business properties worth at least $1.5 million can be moved to Australia within two years of visa approval.
  • In two of the four financial years immediately preceding the invitation to apply for the visa, you must have a total annual sale of at least $3 million in at least one of your key businesses.

The following is a list of the minimum ownership interests:

  • 51% of a company with yearly revenue of less than $400,000
  • 30% of a company with a revenue of more than $400,000 per year
  • A 10% stake in a publicly traded stock

The following is a list of other requirements:

  • Overall, you’ve had a fruitful business career
  • You haven’t been interested in any unethical business practices
  • You have a sincere desire to start and run a business in Australia
  • You can pass other health and character requirements

You must also be under the age of 55, with the exception that if the appointing state or territory government entity determines that your proposed business or investment operation would provide extraordinary economic value to that state or territory.

Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream

For a visa under the Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream, you must meet the following immigration requirements:

  • You must have earned at least $1 million in venture capital funding from an Australian venture capital company to finance a start-up enterprise, commercialize a product, or grow or expand a business in Australia.
  • For the investment, you must have signed a formal agreement with the venture capital firm.
  • There are also health and character requirements.
  • The venture capital company must be a member of the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL).

If your application is approved, you will be required to meet several conditions after receiving your visa, including:

  • If you apply under the Significant Business History stream, you will be able to start a business in Australia or join an established one.
  • If you apply via the Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream, you must meet the conditions of your venture capital agreement.
  • If you apply via the Significant Business History stream, you will be required to complete a survey and report back to immigration authorities after two years on the subclass 132 visa. As part of this provision, you must provide proof that you have met the state nomination criteria that you mentioned when you submitted your application. This includes details on the type of business being done, its size, and which of the Benefit to State requirements you have met. You risk getting your visa revoked if you do not comply.

What is the Application Process to Get a Australia Business Investment Visa?

The three stages of a business visa application are as follows:

  1. Fill out an expression of interest (EOI) form on the SkillSelect website. There is no charge for submitting an application.
  2. Apply for nomination approval to the appropriate state or territory government agency at the same time as the EOI is sent to the department.
  3. You will then continue to lodge your visa application with immigration authorities after receiving an invitation to apply for a business visa. You can apply from anywhere in the world, including Australia.

Australia Business Visa Nomination Requirements

Every state and territory government agency will have different requirements for nomination approval. A nomination from Austrade is expected if you are applying for a subclass 188 visa under the Premium Investor stream. There is also an option for an Austrade nomination approval in the Significant Investor stream.

How to Apply for the SA State Nomination

The application must be sent to Immigration SA online at the same time as your EOI. Make sure you choose South Australia as your nominating state when submitting your EOI. To be eligible for a nomination, you must attach all relevant documents as part of the SA Immigration nomination application process. Check the Immigration SA documentary criteria to see if they relate to your situation. Processing delays may occur if all necessary information and documentation are not provided (and in the correct format).

If your application for state nomination is approved, the department will send you an invitation to apply for the appropriate business visa subclass. Please see our article on the South Australian State Nomination Program for more detail on how to apply for nomination in South Australia.

Finally, we should mention that the above discussion provides an overview of the business visa migration program, including the requirements you must meet to submit a valid visa application and qualify for a visa grant, how to apply for an EOI and then for the visa once you receive an invitation, and the types of costs and expected application processing times you should be aware of. We also go through the main criteria that must be met if you want to be considered for a nomination in South Australia.

The laws governing migration in Australia are complicated, and each case is unique. We’ve also mentioned a few words that are specified in the migration rules (and whose meanings may differ from their ordinary usage). We recommend that you seek professional advice before proceeding with any visa application, as being fully informed about the procedure and conditions will give you the best chance of having your application approved, and therefore reduce the chances of it being denied. This is something that a relocation expert can assist you with.

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