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Significant Investor Visa (sub-class 188/888)

The Significant Investor Visa (SIV) (Sub-class 188/888) has been 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  new 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.

 Eligible investments

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.

UP-DATE: Eligible managed fund investments

A new Legislative Instrument, (IMMI 13/092 [F2013L01571]) issued in July 2013 has up-dated the specified eligible managed fund investments for the Significant Investor Streams of Subclass 188 and 888 visas.

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.

Investment flexibility

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 requires nomination by the relevant Australian State or Territory. In addition to the DIBP criteria, each State / Territory has its own criteria to endorse this nomination:


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 DIBP to do so.

Queensland eligibility criteria:

  1. To be eligible to apply for Queensland Government nomination, you must meet DIBP eligibility requirements
  2. 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.
  3. 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 DIBP residency requirements.

Investment into Queensland Treasury Corporation bonds
Complying investments include Queensland Treasury Corporation’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 DIBP 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 DIBP
  • 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 DIBP
  • The Queensland Government takes no responsibility in the event that your visa application is rejected by DIBP

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 

Next action

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.


The following Fact-sheet and  FAQs  issued by DIBP provide some additional background to this new visa. ***Please select the  link and click on the document icon to open.