Business & Investment visas
There is a selection of business visa options available to applicants wishing to access the Australian immigration system on the basis of their business skills or business investment. Generally the two groups are the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) and the Global Talent Program incorporating the Global Talent Independent (GTI) and the Global Talent Employer Sponsored (GTES) visas
Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP)
The BIIP is made up of the SC188 visa which is a provisional visa (5 types) which leads to a permanent BIIP SC 888 visa. and the permanent Business Talent SC132 visa
Provisional BIIP visas
Even though there are 5 streams in this program, the 3 main visa streams are:
- the Business Innovation Stream (SC188A),
- the Business Investor stream (SC188B) and
- the Significant Investor Stream (SC188C) (> $5M to invest)
Unless you are an institutional or professional investor or otherwise have an investor profile the Business Investor stream won’t be appropriate. The Business Innovation stream will be appropriate if you have a business background) and subject to meeting points test and receiving a state or territory nomination for your proposal (see below)
1. Business Innovation Stream (SC188A)
This program is a State and territory nominated category which requires a nomination from a state or territory government.
To be considered for an invitation to lodge a BIIP SC188A or B visa, you must first be nominated by a state or territory (after meeting their requirements and approval of your proposal) either before lodging an Expression of interest (EOI) (WA, TAS) or after lodgement (QLD, NSW,SA, VIC) setting out briefly your proposal and how you meet the criteria. Only upon successful nomination by a state or territory – whether before or after lodgement of the EOI- will you
be invited to lodge a visa application. The invitation will be issued automatically upon confirmation of your nomination.
States and territories’ criteria reflect the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) requirements (see below).
To be eligible to register to be invited to lodge a visa application in addition to a state or territory nomination, you must:
- be under 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed business will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory;
- score at least 65 on the attached Business Points Test (BPT);
This test drills down on many of the micro elements of an applicant’s background such as age, English language capacity qualifications and assets.
- for two out of the four fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply, have had an ownership interest in an established business or businesses that had at least AUD500,000 turnover in each of those years
- own at least one of the following percentage of your nominated main business:
- 51 per cent, if the business has a turnover of less than AUD400 000 per year
- 30 per cent, if the business has a turnover of AUD400 000 or more per year
- 10 per cent, if the business is a publicly listed company
If your business provides professional, technical or trade services, you must have spent less than half your time providing those services, rather than general management of the business.
- have an overall successful business career and have a genuine desire to continuously own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia.
At the time of invitation, you, your partner, or you and your partner combined must have total net assets of at least AUD800,000 that are lawfully acquired and available for legal
transfer to Australia within two years of the visa being granted (this is also noted in the points test).
Apart from the points test all applicants above 18 must have Functional English. Evidenced either by prescribed passport, education or by English testing (4.5 Average in IELTS).
Health & Character
You and any family members who apply for the visa with you must meet our health requirement. Family members who are not coming to Australia might also meet our health requirement.
Additional nomination criteria
In addition to these requirements adopted by the nominating states and territories, each may have discrete and local/regional requirements which you can discover by search ‘Business migration’. Certain states concentrate upon certain industries and most support proposals creating employment opportunities for local workers, manufacture, agriculture or tourism, so you would have to review the priorities of the state you intend to pursue.
You should investigate the programs and priorities of the target state or territory and their requirements when considering your proposal..
The following links are provided for you to peruse respective state and territory requirements:
West Australia: http://www.businessmigration.wa.gov.au/?page=business-migration
Northern territory: https://www.australiasnorthernterritory.com.au/migrate/migrate-for-business
The business points test is the litmus test as to whether you will meet all the necessary requirements. This however is only part of the story because you must also be nominated by a state or territory for your business proposal.
Please contact us if you require further assistance.
2. Investor stream (SC188B)
This program is a State and territory nominated category which requires an invitation from a state or territory government (after a positive consideration of your EOI). To be considered for an invitation, you must first register an Expression of Interest (EOI) with SkillSelect setting out briefly your proposal and nominate which state you wish to live and operate in. To be eligible to register to be invited by a state and territory government you must:
- be under 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed investment will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory
- score at least 65 on the points test.
- have a high level of management skill in relation to the eligible investment or qualifying business activity
- have at least three years’ experience of direct involvement in managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments
- have an overall successful record of eligible investment or qualifying business activity
- have a genuine and realistic commitment to continuing your business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured
- have a genuine intention to live for at least two years in the state or territory in which you have made a designated investment.
At the time of the invitation:
- You, your partner, or you and your partner combined must:
- for at least one of the five fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply, have directly managed one of the following:
- a qualifying business in which you, your partner or you and your partner combined had at least 10 per cent ownership interest, or
- eligible investments owned by you, your partner or you and your partner combined of at least AUD1.5million.
- during the two fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply, have legally acquired net business, investment and personal assets of at least AUD2.25 million that are available for legal transfer to Australia within two years of the visa being granted
- make a designated investment of at least AUD1.5 million in a state or territory government security using unencumbered funds accumulated from qualifying businesses or eligible investments and be prepared to hold that investment for at least four years from date of issue in your nominating state or territory
- have had no involvement in unacceptable activities.
Income that you earn from your designated investment in Australia is subject to tax under Australian taxation law.
Please contact us if you require further assistance.
3. The Significant Investor Visa (SIV) (Sub-class 188C)
The SIV was established in order to attract high net worth individuals as a means of boosting the Australian economy.
Policy intention is that those seeking investment migration will hopefully look to Australia as an option to invest and the government hopes that it will shore up the country’s share of the wealthy looking to inject capital outside of their own nations.
This streamlined Australian investment visa requires state or territory sponsorship after registering of an Expression of Interest (EOI) thorough the SkillSelect database and subsequent invitation. Applicants do not have to satisfy the usual business visa related requirements such as the innovations points test nor meet the upper age limits. Additionally, there is no need to satisfy the usual levels of English language for permanent visas. However if applicants cannot show ‘functional’ English, there will be in fact be an additional or second visa charge reflecting this.
To qualify for a permanent visa, an investor must spend AUD5 million over a four (4) year provisional period. Additionally, the residence requirement has been reduced to 160 days over the 4 year investment period. This can be met on an annual basis or all at once.
Where the money can be injected is controlled by government regulation and must be in listed sectors and selected investment vehicles – including
- Commonwealth, state or territory government bonds,
- Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) regulated managed funds which will spend the money domestically or
- direct investment into unlisted Australian companies.
Eligible managed fund investments
Specified eligible managed fund investments for the Significant Investor Streams of Subclass 188 and 888 visas have been indentified by Legislative Instrument, (IMMI 13/092 [F2013L01571]) issued in July 2013.
The Eligible managed funds listed in the instrument are listed below:
(a) infrastructure projects in Australia;
(b) cash held by Australian deposit taking institutions (including negotiable certificates of deposit, bank bills and other cash-like instruments);
(c) bonds issued by the Commonwealth Government or a State or Territory government;
(d) bonds, equity, hybrids or other corporate debt in companies and trusts listed or expected to be listed within 12 months on an Australian Stock Exchange;
(e) bonds or term deposits issued by Australian financial institutions;
(f) real property in Australia;
(g) Australian Agribusiness;
(h) annuities issued by an Australian registered life company in accordance with section 9 or 12A of the Life Insurance Act 1995;
(i) derivatives used for portfolio management and non-speculative purposes which constitute no more than 20 per cent of the total value of the managed fund;
(j) loans secured by mortgages over the investments listed in subparagraphs 2(a) to 2(h) of this instrument; and
(k) other managed funds that invest in the investments listed in subparagraphs 2(a) to 2(j) of this instrument.
Complying significant Investments
Funds invested must include:
- At least AUD500,000 in eligible Australian venture capital or growth private equity fund(s) investing in start-up and small private companies. Note the Government expects to increase this to $1million for new applications within two years as the market responds;
- At least AUD1.5 million in an eligible managed fund(s) or Listed Investment Companies (LICs) that invest in emerging companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX); and,
- A ‘balancing investment’ of up to AUD3 million in fund(s) or LICs that invest in a combination of eligible assets that include other ASX listed companies, eligible Australian corporate bonds or notes, annuities and real property in Australia (subject to the 10% limit on residential real estate).
Visa applicants may change between complying investments, provided they continue to meet the proportions outlined above and meet specified reinvestment requirements.
It is your responsibility to ensure your investment options comply.
Applicants must maintain the investment during the initial four year term of the provisional visa. During this time, the value of the investment may fall below $5 million and applicants do not need to top it up. Applicants may not make withdrawals which take the balance invested below $5 million. Even if the value of the investment increases above $5 million, applicants may not make withdrawals to take the sum back to $5 million but must maintain the full investment.
Please note: Investment in real estate other than by ASIC regulated mutual funds or non-speculative property development Australian un-listed companies is not an eligible investment.
Australian Significant Investor Visa – Individual State Requirements (Provisional 188 Visa)
The Provisional Significant Investor Visa stream as with the earlier two options require nomination by the relevant Australian State or Territory. In addition to the DHA criteria, each State / Territory has its own criteria to endorse this nomination.
We have included the Queensland requirements.
Nomination for this visa will be considered by the Queensland Government for high net worth individuals who wish to invest and live in Queensland. The subclass 188 Significant Investor visa is a provisional visa with a pathway to permanent residency.
Queensland welcomes business investment and offers a range of business advantages including a stable economy, supportive government, and a solid growth forecast. Queensland’s low operating costs, highly skilled workforce and strategic Asia-Pacific location create an attractive investment destination.
The complying investment must not be made until you have been informed by DHA to do so.
Queensland eligibility criteria:
- To be eligible to apply for Queensland Government nomination, you must meet DHA eligibility requirements
- Preference will be given to applicants with investments that have a direct economic benefit to Queensland. Applicants will be considered on a case by case basis.
- In order to receive nomination from the Queensland Government it is expected that you have a genuine and realistic commitment to reside in Queensland in order to meet the DHA residency requirements.
Investment into Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) bonds
Complying investments include QTC’s Queensland Bonds which are used for significant infrastructure projects in Queensland.
Investment in a Queensland business
If you are going to invest your funds into either a new or existing business, the business will be required to be registered and operating in Queensland.
It must be a ‘qualifying business’, whereby it is operated for the purpose of making profit through the provision of goods, services or goods and services to the public and is not operated primarily or substantially for the purpose of speculative or passive investment.
As per DHA requirements, investments into property will not be considered, however you may be eligible to invest in ASIC regulated managed funds which may invest in real estate in Australia.
Extension of time or extension of visa
To be able to be granted another Significant Investor visa, you need to be nominated by the original nominating State or Territory Government and have continuously held complying investment for the life of your previous provisional Significant Investor visa.
The Queensland Government will not allow you to transfer your nomination to another State or Territory.
Information you should be aware of:
- Please be advised that applying for nomination correctly does not guarantee success. Nomination is granted at the discretion of the Queensland Government. Queensland Government sponsorship is subject to nomination planning levels as allocated by DHA
- It is recommended that you seek your own professional legal and financial advice before investing. The Queensland Government will not take a role in your investment decision nor will it provide financial advice or guarantee any return on your complying investment.
- The Queensland Government may nominate an applicant for a visa, however the final decision and time-frame on the granting of the visa is made by DHA
- The Queensland Government takes no responsibility in the event that your visa application is rejected by DHA
Fact-sheets for your information
BIIP SC188A & B Business Innovation and Investor visas: BSMQ-Factsheet_BIIP_SC188 A & B
BIIP SC188C Significant Investor visa: BSMQ-Factsheet_BIIP-Subclass-188C visa
Other states- More information
States’ and Territories’ requirements are subject to change as the program responds to changing conditions, so for further information about other states and territories’ regulations, please contact us
For assistance on how to register an EOI with SkillSelect and to interact with a potential state or territory sponsor, visa application procedures and documentary requirements for any participating state or territory, and all other queries relating to application or eligibility requirements or indeed any other relevant matter, please do not hesitate to Contact us.