In an announcement issued by Tony Abbott on the 14 October 2014, the Government to expand and improve the Significant Investor Visa programme.
At present, SIVs are available for applicants having an eligible investment in Australia of A$5 million, for a minimum of four years.
The Government will reform the programme to encourage more high net worth individuals to make Australia home and to leverage and better direct additional foreign investment, while maintaining safeguards to ensure the migration programme is not misused.
Changes will include:
- Streamlining and speeding up visa processing, further promoting the programme globally and strengthening integrity measures, to increase the attractiveness of investing and settling in Australia while ensuring Australia’s interests are protected;
- aligning the criteria for eligible investments with the Government’s national investment priorities. The investment eligibility criteria will be determined by Austrade in consultation with key economic and industry portfolios;
- introducing a Premium Investor Visa (PIV), offering a more expeditious, 12 month pathway to permanent residency than the SIV, for those meeting a $15 million threshold; and
- tasking Austrade to become a nominating entity for the SIV (complementing the current State and Territory governments’ role as nominators) and to be the sole nominating entity for the PIV.
The changes to the SIV will take effect during 2014-15, with the Premium Investor Visa to be introduced from 1 July 2015.
This is a great opportunity for financially capable applicants to purchase an Australian visa, and it was only a question of time before the liberal government introduced a more exclusive class of SIV.
For 90% of the population the effect on property prices will not have a significant effect as the top end of the market is able to help themselves, so that respect it is a clever move. Interestingly the premium is much higher than any other western economy offers , so in that respect also it will attract investors who can be more active and arguably the money they bring will provide some financial oxygen to the local markets. Lets hope however that the government doesn’t abandon all forms of control in return for this tariff.