New Visa for Investors

Frank LanzaEarlier this year, the Department of Immigration implemented a revamped system for business and investment migration to Australia. Know as the ‘Business Innovation and Investment program‘, this system caters for people who have demonstrated experience and success in business overseas. The program is designed to attract business people and increase economic growth and innovation in Australia.

From 24 November 2012, the program will be expanded with a new type of visa for people who are able to invest significant amounts in Australia. This will be called the ‘significant investor visa‘. The government aims to attract wealthy foreign investors, who can help boost the Australian economy.

The Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen, has explained that:

The business innovation and investment program is positioned to target migrants with a demonstrated history of success in business and investment, to make a powerful contribution to national innovation and the Australian economy.

The significant investor visa is a temporary visa valid for four (4) years. The holder of this visa can live in Australia and invest in Australian businesses. Unlike many other visa types, there is no age limit. Immediate family members (such as a partner and children) are also entitled to live, work and study in Australia. In order to qualify for this visa, the applicant must be able to investment at least five million Australian dollars ($5,000,000 AUD).

There are three types of investments that can be used for the significant investor visa: These are the purchase of government bonds, investment in certain managed funds, and direct investment into private Australian companies.

A private company is a company that is not listed on the stock exchange. The company must be actively operating a business in Australia. The applicant must obtain an ownership interest in the company by purchasing shares.

The applicant will first be issued a provisional visa, which lasts for four (4) years. They must live in Australia for at least 160 days during the first four (4) year period. After two years, if the applicant has already been in Australia for 160 days, they can apply for a permanent visa.

Visa Fee Increases

The Department of Immigration has announced that the following visa application fees will increase start from 1 January 2013.

  1. Onshore partner visa applications will increase from $3060 to around $4000. Offshore partner visa applications will increase from $2060 to around $2700.
  2. Skilled Graduate visas will increase from $315 to $2160.
  3. Temporary work visas will increase from $350 to around $455.
  4. Working Holiday visas will increase from $280 to around $360.

If you apply for any of the above visas before the end of this year, you will only have to pay the lower application fee.