January 30, 2019

Migration

Overview : Business Innovation and Investment Visas

The Business Innovation and Investment Visa (Subclass 188) (Business Visa) is available to high net worth clients who are conducting business and investment activity in Australia. This visa is designed to allow foreign clients to own and manage a business in Australia, invest in new or existing business ventures and undertake entrepreneurial activities. There are several benefits to this visa:

  1. It provides clients with a pathway to permanent residency through the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888);
     
  2. Applicants can travel in and out of Australia any number of times whilst the visa is valid; and
     
  3. Applicants can have their family accompany them (family members will usually have access to work and study rights)

The Business Visa contains five different streams – clients must apply in the stream that best suits their circumstances. In this article, we are focussing on the three most commonly used streams described below.  Each stream has slightly different eligibility criteria. If you or your clients are applying for a Business Visa, it is important that you seek professional legal advice in relation to which stream is most appropriate.

eligibility requirements

GENERAL CRITERIA

There are some criteria which are common amongst all three visa streams:

Stay Period

Up to 4 years and 3 months

Offshore or Onshore

Applicants can be in or outside Australia when they apply for the visa and when the Department decides the application.

Invitation to Apply

The Department must invite applicants to apply for the Subclass 188 visa. Applicants must submit an Expression of Interest.

English

Applicants aged 18 or over at the time of application must have at least functional English. Applicants will generally need to undertake an IELTS test.

BUSINESS INNOVATION STREAM

The Business Innovation Stream allows applicants to operate a new or existing business in Australia. If this visa is granted, applicants must have a substantial ownership stake in a business in Australia and take part in its day to day management at a senior level.

Age

Applicants must be under 55 years of age

Successful Business Career

Applicants must have a successful business career and a genuine desire to continuously own and manage a business in Australia. The Department may consider that this criterion is not satisfied where the applicant has been declared bankrupt in the last 5 years or the applicant is (or has been) actively involved in a business that is (or has been) subject to insolvency, liquidation or receivership. 

Business Credentials  

For 2 out of 4 financial years immediately before the applicant receives an invitation to apply, the applicant must have had an ownership stake in 1 or 2 businesses that had at least AUD$500,000 turnover in each of those 2 years. The applicant must own at least:

  • 51%, if the business has a turnover of less than AUD$400,000 per year
  • 30%, if the business has a turnover of AUD$400,000 or more per year, or
  • 10%, if the business is a publicly listed company

Net business and personal assets  

The applicant, their partner, or the applicant and their partner combined must have total net business and personal assets of at least AUD$800,000. The funds must be available to transfer to Australia within 2 years of the Department granting the visa

Points Test

The applicant must be awarded 65 points on the point test. Applicants can check how many points they may be eligible to receive via the Department’s online points calculator: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/tools/points-calculator

INVESTOR STREAM

The Investor Stream is for applicants who want to make a designated investment of at least AUD$1.5million in an Australian state or territory bond and maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants must be aware that any income earned from the designated investment in Australia is subject to tax under Australian taxation law.

Age

Applicants must be under 55 years of age

Intend to live in a specific state or territory Applicants must have a genuine intention to live for at least 2 years in the state or territory in which they have made an investment.
Business Experience

Applicants must:

  • have at least 3 years' experience managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments
  • have a successful record of eligible investment or qualifying business activity
  • have a genuine and realistic commitment to their business or investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured

If you or your clients are considering applying for the Investor Stream, we recommend that you seek legal advice to ensure your business is a qualifying business and that your investment is an eligible investment for the purposes of this stream.

Points Test The applicant must be awarded 65 points on the point test.
Investments and business Experience

Applicants must:

  • Have managed eligible investments of AUD$1.5million or a qualifying business
  • Have assets of AUD$2.25 million
  • Make a designated investment of AUD$1.5 million in a state or territory government security.  

There are strict requirements regarding what constitutes a “designated investment”. Please contact us if you would like further advice in this regard.

SIGNIFICANT INVESTOR STREAM


The Significant Investor Stream is for applicants who are willing to invest at least AUD 5 million into complying significant investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia.

General Obligations

The applicant must:

  • reside in the state or territory whose government agency nominated them
  • continue their business and investment activity in Australia after the conclusion of their provisional visa  
  • live in Australia for at least 40 days per year (calculated cumulatively) for the duration of their provisional visa, or their spouse must live for at least 180 days per year (calculated cumulatively) for the duration of their provisional visa.

Invest at least AUD $5 million

The applicant must make a complying significant investment of at least AUD $5 million and hold that investment for at least 4 years.

If you are considering applying for the Significant Investor Stream, we recommend that you seek legal advice to ensure your investment is a ‘complying significant investment’ for the purposes of this stream.

HOW WE CAN HELP

The Business Innovation and Investment Visa (Subclass 188) is one of the more complex visa pathways but can provide an extremely effective immigration solution for applicants who meet the eligibility criteria. If any of the above streams appear to be suitable based on you or your client’s circumstances, we would be happy to provide further detailed advice regarding eligibility and the process involved in making an application. Please contact Jerome Quinn (Migration Agent MARN 1799131) to discuss further.