About the show

Each episode on the investment Immigration Podcast by Uglobal.com, host Salman Siddiqui sits down with leading professionals, attorneys, thought leaders and government officials to discuss the latest developments impacting citizenship and residency by investment. Whether you´re someone who takes part in cross border transactions, works in the investment immigration community or are personally interested in participating in citizenship or residency investment, tune each week to the Investment Immigration podcast to stay up to date on what´s happening in the investment immigration world.

About the host

Salman Siddiqui is the host of Uglobal’s Investment Immigration Podcast series. Siddiqui is a versatile storyteller and embodies the spirit of a true global citizen. His own immigration journey took him to many places around the world, including the UK, Cyprus, Turkey, and Qatar. He has written dozens of in-depth articles and features on global investment immigration programs for the Uglobal Immigration Magazine and website. He is a journalist and creative content editor by training. He earned his master’s in arts degree from SOAS, University of London. He is currently based in Berlin, Germany.

Salman Siddiqui

Episode Transcript

James Hall: There's no official position for specific countries. I mean, Australia is open to all of the countries. There are no separate rules by country, so there's no official position for any specific country.

José de Frankenberg: Welcome to the Investment Immigration Podcast by Uglobal.com, with weekly in-depth interviews with the world's leading investment immigration professionals.

José de Frankenberg: Welcome to another episode of the Investment Immigration podcast, brought to you by Uglobal. I'm your host, José de Frankenberg, and in this episode we're going to focus on Australia. Now Australian Investment Immigration program is expected to have a lot of changes, especially by the end of this year. And today we are joined by James Hall, managing director of ANZ Migrate. It's a pleasure to be able to speak with James to understand the changes in the visa programs in Australia. So without further ado, James, thank you very much for joining us. Could you provide a brief overview of the ANZ Migrate and its focus on Australia and New Zealand?

James Hall: Cool. Thanks, Jose. Thank you for having me. Pleasure to join you. So I am the owner and founder of ANZ Migrate. We've been operating out of Singapore since 2003. I'm previously from the corporate background. I worked with IBM for many years. I moved with them to Singapore and I was seeking a change and something where I could actually work and help people and help families change their lives, which is why I was prompted to get into the immigration industry. Also, being an Australian overseas gave me certain edge; hfamiliarity with Australia. There are several thousand immigration professionals, for example with the Migration Institute of Australia, they've got more than 1000 members, but only 60 of them are actually living overseas. So there aren't many Australians that are qualified to provide immigration advice outside of Australia, where most of the clients are now. I got my license for Australia in 2004, and I've also become licensed for New Zealand in 2008, and we've had a team that's been growing in size. Just recently, we've been onboarding another six registered migration agents, so we're going to have quite a sizeable team to support our clients.

José de Frankenberg: Could you explain what are the investor visa options in Australia as of right now?

James Hall: As of right now, unfortunately we don't have any viable options. But I can talk about what program we've had, why it's currently suspended and what we're expecting in the future. So we have a suite of programs under a visa called subclass 188. All of the visas for Australia have a three digit number to identify them, and the idea of the program is to be a two stage process. So there's a qualifying stage to get a temporary visa or provisional visa that allows the applicant to go to Australia, carry out certain activities requirements, spend a certain amount of time in Australia and then qualify for permanent residency under the subclass 888.

Now obviously there's a significance with the 888 because one of the largest markets we've had for this visa in the past has been the China market. And obviously that's a very attractive number to Chinese. Although, that said, Australia does have a very transparent system and you can take the government to court and to the tribunal to challenge decisions. And that does happen. But there's no there's certainly no widespread litigation around this. There are a lot of concerns over things like the processing time and changes with that. And the government hasn't been doing an effective job of communicating these changes. So as I was mentioning, it's a two stage process. The first stage is the subclass 188. Now to get that, the person needs to show they've done certain activities, certain history.

James Hall: And this is usually with their business or investments overseas. They then qualify to get that visa to go to Australia, carry out activities, qualify for permanent residency. So the entry point is the 188. Now that also needs to have nomination by a state or territory government in Australia. So one of the regions in Australia must agree to support that applicant as an entry point to apply for that visa, and the state and territories can set their own rules so they don't actually control the immigration program, but they do control the entry point to allow someone to actually apply for that initial visa. Within the program, we have several streams. So the first stream is 188. It's officially there are no designations for the stream other than a name, but it's very common to use a letter to designate the different streams. So 188A is business innovation, which is essentially for business owners. So people demonstrating they've been owning and managing a business typically overseas and using that as an entry point to meet the requirements 188B, which is an investor pathway that's based upon a A$2.5 million investment in Australia. The limitation with this pathway is that A$2.5 million can only come from certain investment activities. So gains or earnings from those investment activities or from business management. So it can't come from salary, it can't come from unacceptable investment activities.

James Hall: For example Bitcoin earnings can't be used for this unfortunately 188C which is significant. Investor visa which is our major investment program. That's a A$5 million investment pathway that waves a lot of the requirements. For example, you don't have to demonstrate management of the earnings to get the A$5 million. You just have to demonstrate that it's come from legal sources. And then we have the 188E, which is the entrepreneur pathway, relatively new. Started around 2016. It's gone through some changes. One of the past restrictions we had was a mandatory requirement to get venture capital funding for the business idea for Australia, or the entrepreneurial idea for Australia. That's been abolished, although some state and territories may still require venture capital funding to be in place. So there's still some challenges with that, and there hasn't been a big uptake with that program, unfortunately. That's the program. Our program year follows the financial year in Australia, so that starts on the 1st of July each year and goes through to the end of June in the following year. Now, in the current program year, the government has made no places available for new entrants into the program. We do have a new government in Australia, a new national government that came into power last year after ten years being out of government. So we've had a different government over the last ten years.

James Hall: The new government that's come in is not favorable generally towards business and investment migration, but they are more favorable towards employment, professional type, skilled migration. So while they're determining what they're going to do with the program, and they have conducted a review earlier this year, which will look at a reimagining of the whole program and coming up with a whole strategy, new strategy for the overall migration program. So all the different pathways, they haven't yet announced what that strategy is, so pending that they have effectively suspended new applications for this program. Now, the review they conducted earlier this year, the outcome of the review recommended that the business innovation program was not worthwhile. The investment program, the A$2.5 million investment program, didn't have significant benefits. They saw the best value in the significant investor program, which is the A$5 million pathway. And they also saw potential in the entrepreneur pathway, but that's largely untapped at this stage. So what we think will happen is there'll be a new program in the future, probably in the program year starting in July next year for the A$5 million significant investor visa, probably not for business innovation or the investor and probably we will have something for the entrepreneur, but we would expect some changes to these under a new program and probably a new visa subclass number to differentiate them from the existing queue and backlog we've got under the 188 system.

José de Frankenberg: Having said that, one of the things is maybe for our viewership to understand how does the quota system work?

James Hall: So the quota is actually for the grants of the visas. There will be a quota each year, and that's a limitation for how many visas can be granted that year. So if we've got a quota of 8000 places for that year, that's actually not the new entrance into the system. That's how many can leave and get their visa granted. So if we've got 8000 and there's 16,000 applications in the queue, for example, then it basically means two years of processing needed to clear that queue, because only 8000 could be released and granted each year. Okay.

José de Frankenberg: And are those quota systems put in for specific countries or, you know, is just total number.

James Hall: There is no separation by country. There is no discrimination by country. There's no different requirements by country. The only thing that changes by country is just processing centers. We have two processing centers, one in Adelaide and one in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong processing team, which has all the same requirements and criteria and quota, they process applications from the Greater China region, the Macau, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. They are processed by a team in Hong Kong. The rest of the world is processed through Adelaide.

José de Frankenberg: What is the government stance on Chinese immigration?

James Hall: Well, there's no official position for specific countries. I mean, Australia is open to all of the countries. There are no separate rules by country, so there's no official position for any specific country. It is open to all the countries. Traditionally, China has been about 88% of the business investment program. And pathways like the significant investor visa have catered well to the Chinese market because they've got options to do it without any English language requirements. And in fact, all of the business investment program the applicants can get through without speaking English.

There may be additional fees required to compensate for that, but they can actually meet the criteria without speaking English. The only exception is the entrepreneur pathway, which caters very well to the China market. The other issue that Chinese face is obviously funds transfers out of China. Australia is fairly liberal with that. They are concerned with funds meeting the Australian regulatory requirements. So as long as the funds are transferred in a way that complies with the financial requirements in Australia and all the requirements for the funds coming into Australia, and that's quite easy for people from China to meet with the various services available, then Australia is satisfied with that. That varies with New Zealand. It's almost impossible to do investment visas from New Zealand because they want to see bank to bank direct transfers through the banking system from source country. Australia is a bit more flexible.

José de Frankenberg: So moving on, I want to understand a little bit, you know what the situation with the entrepreneurship visa is, if you can kind of shed some light on what the government is doing and give us some more information and feedback.

James Hall: As I mentioned, the program is on hold for new applications, but the previous program, which is still in effect, it's just no places for new entrants into the system. It requires the applicant to have an innovative idea for a start up activity in Australia. So it can't be an existing business. It must be something that's going to be new and it must be innovative.

Now the government's removed the requirement to have venture capital funding, which is great, but you still have to satisfy any requirements by the state or territory government. And these have increased. So really the main vetting for the entrepreneur pathway is through the state and territory governments. So for example New South Wales requires the applicant. So New South Wales is where Sydney is by the way the state where Sydney is. They require the applicant to have a partnership with an accelerator or a startup incubator, have this agreement in place and also to have some venture capital funding in place. So there are requirements like this that are being set up by each state or territory government. South Australia has similar requirements, although they do allow self-funding rather than external VC funding. Western Australia has been the most lenient. They largely just look at a good innovative idea that can be implemented, and they're not so concerned with partnering with an accelerator or incubator. So that's the direction it's gone.

José de Frankenberg: If you're an entrepreneur, at what stage should your company be and should it be in technology? Is it software or is just across the board, depending just as long as it's innovative in a certain industry?

James Hall: Exactly. Yeah. There's no limitation when you say what stage, it's not based upon your history, it's the idea. So you don't have to demonstrate experience as an entrepreneur. You come along with an idea. It doesn't even have to be your own idea. You just need an idea that you can carry out in Australia that's going to be innovative in Australia. So, for example, an applicant could buy the rights to a technology that's being used overseas, bring that to Australia and propose starting activity in Australia using that technology. There's no requirement to show any specific experience or history for this.

José de Frankenberg: Okay. And so let's say for a potential entrepreneur, what is the process and timeline for getting your application approved for this kind of visa.

James Hall: Yeah. And that's the sticking point with this. So all of the 108 visas, all of these business investment visas, including the entrepreneur, and they're saying, Q we did have separate processing priority for the significant investor visa, the $5 million pathway that's been abolished. So all of them now are just in this same general view, stuck in this queue, which has quite a long processing time. And we were looking at 3 to 4 years for the processing time for this, unfortunately. So that's the kind of time frame you're looking at.

It is increasing though, and that's something we can talk about why it's increasing and the direction it's going in. So we're talking about applicants applying for the first visa for that right to go down to Australia, carry out activities in Australia to later qualify for permanent residency. Okay.

José de Frankenberg: So until that point I'm still in my country. You're processing or you get a foot in Australia.

James Hall: Well you can there is an option called Bridging Visa that can allow you to live and work in Australia and run businesses or do activities in Australia while you're waiting for the processing of the visa. Okay, but that's not going to meet any of the qualifying requirements yet because you're not on that first visa yet. To qualify for the permanent residency, you have to go down to Australia and be carrying out activities on that temporary visa to then qualify for the permanent residency later.

So there is an option to be down there and that option to be down there is in Australia during the processing time depends upon whether the applicant had a visa for Australia, such as the visitor visa at the time they lodged that initial business visa. If they did, the door is open to getting a bridging visa to remain in Australia during the processing. If they didn't have a visitor visa or other visa for Australia at the time they lodged that application in the past, then that door is not open and they can't get a visa under this pathway to remain in Australia during the processing time.

José de Frankenberg: What I want to also ask you is regarding how is it and what challenges do you face when you encounter, you know, assisting with clients, with investors, business, immigration visas in Australia.

James Hall: Are there's different challenges. I think one of the biggest challenges is obviously records and proving amounts and required experience. For example, if we're doing a business innovation, which is for business owners, we need to show certain amount of management experience and we'll need to show several years of management experience. And we have to show day to day strategic decision making of the business. So evidence that they are making decisions that affect the direction of the business, that are representing the business. And we need considerable amount of this evidence and continuous evidence over several years. And often it can be quite difficult to do that if they haven't been keeping records, or they haven't bothered signing documents themselves and getting other staff to sign documents that can be challenging.

Similarly, with the investment visa, the A$2.5 million in particular, we also need to show experience in making decisions around the investment. For example, if the person has been investing in property, and they haven't been making active decisions around the investment over a period of time and just letting it sit there. Then it can be more challenging to prove that being an active investor and applying their investment skill over that period.

Now, there are some ways we can do that, but it does become a challenge if the investment is not changing. I'm not saying it must change, but that does represent a challenge and we have to show they're still active consideration, active decision making, even if the investment isn't changing. And usually with that, we show how they monitor the market, how they appraise their investments, and why they decide to keep that investment going and making that decision to keep the investment going on a regular basis, rather than selling it and changing the investment to something else. It's showing there's an active involvement in the investment, even if it's not changing.

José de Frankenberg: What are the common misconceptions or I guess, pitfalls that you often see with that prolonged the process for investors and how can they be avoided?

James Hall: Well, documentation, as I said, is key. Talking to your registered migration agent, understanding the requirements, not glossing over details. Because when we get down to settling the application, we have to extensively prove these periods. We have to prove all of this experience, all of this evidence. So it's very important to be straightforward with details. Financial statements for businesses need to be complete with all the accompanying notes. For example, one of the things that comes into play, often with assets and business assets, are direct lines where people take money from the business or put money into the business. These become very important, proving asset positions as the requirements for this.

But often clients don't do these in a, I won't say legitimate, but in a clear way that supports compliance. For example, a director's line is expected that any funds are moved from the applicant's personal bank account directly into the company bank account. It's shown in the ledger of the company. There's agreement in place for this, and any money taken out from a director's loan goes from the company account back to the personal account. If they aren't doing it from other accounts that aren't under their name, then there can be issues in proving this. The other issue we have there are some peculiar little policy quirks, for example, with the investor pathway with the 2.5 million.

James Hall: Although the investments can be in property, including residential real estate, if the client has been investing in residential real estate, but they don't own their own personal residence, they can't claim another property as an investment if they don't first own their own personal residence.

Now, to me, that's quite a logical it's very outdated thinking. I think from the 1950s, you know, that people are expected to own their own family home first, the very sort of outdated thinking. For me, there are quite legitimate reasons why an applicant might be living in a shared household or might be renting the property they live in and putting their money into investment properties even though they could afford to own their own home. But policy says if they don't own that home they're living in, they can't use a secondary residential property as an investment. As a source for the 2.5 million. If they do have multiple properties, we can usually negotiate. Now, this is not official under policy, but we can usually negotiate with the department to eliminate one of those properties and still count the others, but that's subject to the discretion of the case officer we're working with.

José de Frankenberg: Okay. So James, I want to ask you about the processing time. The quotas have gone from 8000 pre-COVID to about 13,500 during Covid, and now they're down to 1900. What does this mean for the processing time for the business Innovation and Investment program?

James Hall: Yeah, that's a really good question. And the short answer is we really don't know the full picture yet. It is dependent upon the government and what their strategy is for the future and how they want to handle this. And they haven't made a decision. And this is one of the frustrating things at the moment that the government has been very silent about this.

We're anxiously awaiting direction from them on where the program is going, but what it simply means is if the quota was to remain at 1900 places, that basically means that with current queue size would estimate around 25,000. It would take around 12 years to process that queue. That would mean that applicants at the end of the processing queue so submitted their application towards the end of the last program year before the program closed. They would have around a 12 year wait. Now that's just unthinkable. You know, it's unreasonable. So we're hoping something will change, but we don't know yet. Now, the reason why it's a low number, I believe, is because the government is thinking about what they want to do. They haven't decided how they want to handle these programs.

Basically, they've got a lot of applications under a system they want to phase out because they want to get rid of some of these visas they don't see as that beneficial, and they don't yet know how they're going to handle those applications. Now we're hoping they will process them. There has been one instance, and I hate to bring up a horror story, but, you know, we should talk about this.

There was one instance about ten years ago where they did cancel all applications. When I say cancel, they stop the processing of these applications and refunded the fees. And it was though these applications had never been made. And that's very, very unusual. I've been in practice for 20 years.

That's only happened once. And they actually took all these people that were in a queue and said, okay, we're basically canceling these applications as though those applications have been made, returning the fee to you and these visas won't be processed. That could happen. I hope it doesn't. It would be a major PR disaster for Australia if that happened. We don't yet know. So we're looking at potentially a long processing time unless the government decides they will just bite the bullet and let them go through and expedite it, which I doubt. Or they might look at something else, like cancelling them or giving some other alternative under a different pathway. We don't yet know.

The government have said they'll come out with a strategy by the end of this year. We haven't received that yet. Hopefully that will give some insight into where the direction of this program will go, the new visa options and what they might do with the existing queue. If we don't get that insight in the strategy for this year, then we'll be looking at the Australian budget, which comes out in May next year, the federal budget, the national budget, because that sets the program for the following year. So that would let us know what the numbers will be for the queue size starting in the program year 1st of July 2024.

José de Frankenberg: Okay. And I guess this would lead to a follow up question. All this uncertainty – how has this affected the interest for foreigners in the Australian program? And knowing full well that there is a lot of options today all over the world, how has this affected at least the flow in the interest.

James Hall: It's negative. It's given people a negative image. The Australian government generally has been quite good in the way they manage the program, in my opinion. In the past, this silence from the government on the program, the direction of the program and how it's going to be managed in the future is quite frustrating because it's creating a negative image of Australia. People have this perception that Australia doesn't want migrants when it's quite the opposite.

Australia is a young country, it depends upon migration. So we definitely do want migrants, but this is sending the wrong message. The silence is sending the wrong message out there. And as you mentioned, there are a lot of other options and people are looking to them. They're looking at Portugal and other countries as options. New Zealand, they are looking at these other countries in Australia is losing potential migrants, unfortunately. So it's a negative thing. Unfortunately, all we can do is wait and see what happens.

José de Frankenberg: Now you mentioned New Zealand. They haven't had an easy time attracting investment, immigration. Why do you think that is?

James Hall: I would disagree when you say they haven't had an easy time. Certainly the numbers for migration to New Zealand are much lower than Australia, but New Zealand's very happy with that.

They have changed their program. So they had a program which had two options of investing A$3 million or A$10 million was known as the investor one and investor two. They stopped that last year and started a new program called the Active Investor Visa, which requires essentially a A$15 million investment. It can be prorated down to A$5 million by doing certain investments, but officially it's set at A$15 million, so it's a significant jump from the previous program. They are quite happy to do that. And they've had 37 applications under this. And they consider that to be a success. So when you say they've had a hard time, New Zealand doesn't consider it to be a hard time. They're very satisfied with those results. And I guess in the end they're not prepared to sacrifice their standards and their requirements for sheer numbers. They're looking more at quality rather than quantity. And I think this is a very, very good thing. And it's an interesting mindset compared to how many countries conduct their investment migration programs, where they're really looking at the numbers they can get in New Zealand is not that way. They also recognize that these programs take time.

When they had the investor one, it took several years for the program to grow, and it grew quite significantly when they increased the investment, it went from NZD1.5 to NZD3 million. What it's going to mention was it took several years for it to grow again when they lifted the amount, but New Zealand was completely happy with that. They didn't backtrack. So that's the thing with New Zealand. They're happy with these low numbers. They consider 37 applicants to be a success.

José de Frankenberg: It'd be great to kind of understand what are the differences regarding Australia and New Zealand. Very different approaches to their visa investor programs. So shed some light on what the investor visa routes are now available for foreign investors in New Zealand.

James Hall: Sure, sure. So New Zealand has an investment program. They did stop their previous investment program last year that required investments of either 3 million or 10 million NZD. So the two pathways there basically if you invested a higher amount, the investment period was shorter and the stay periods required in New Zealand to qualify for permanent residency were shorter as well. So they've abolished that previous program. They've introduced a new program called the. Invest the program and this is based around NZD15 million New Zealand investment. It can be scaled down to 5 million if you do certain kinds of investments. So they've got a point system where $1 can count as NZD3 million. So your NZD5 million can still count as a NZD15 million investment if you invest in specific investments. So the more active beneficial to the country the investment is, then the greater the weightage of the investment.

It must equate to NZD15 million in total for the investment value. The new visa actually has a whole new approach to the investment options. Under the previous system, we had what we call acceptable investments, and people could pick and choose from different types of investments, which included bonds, funds, commercial property, new residential developments.

With the investment visa, we only have three kinds of investment; we have direct investments in companies, we have managed funds and we have shares. Now, all of these must go through an approval process, particularly the direct investments in companies and the funds so they can only invest in certain pre-approved companies or funds. And this is good for the investor because it gives them a higher surety. Although these are commercial investments and there are obviously still risks, it gives them a bit more confidence that there is some vetting process in place. I think the other thing that's also important to understand for New Zealand, and it's a really big attraction, and this also applies to Australia, is that with all of these investment pathways, the investments are only done at the end of the process before the visa is granted.

So it's not a matter of, let's say with the EB-5 where you make the investments up front and then you go and apply for the visa. With these, you're going through the whole visa process, being qualified, having everything checked before they say, yep, everything's okay. Now go ahead and make the investment and then we'll give you your residence visa.

You're only doing it once everything's been vetted and qualified. With New Zealand, the process is actually up to a point called an approval in principle, which is an indication that everything else is met. They'll give you a period to go ahead and make the investment. You make that investment and then that residence visa is granted. While you're on that residence visa, you'll need to spend a certain amount of time in New Zealand, and at the end of that period and maintaining that investment, you then get your permanent residence.

James Hall: There's one other major attraction for New Zealand in the permanent residence, and this isn't the case for Australia. Permanent residency in New Zealand is lifelong. There are no further obligations or requirements, stay requirements or criteria to be met. There's no renewals of any kind. Once you've got the permanent residency in New Zealand, you have it for the rest of your life. And that's very, very attractive, especially if you're coming from a country that doesn't allow dual citizenship. And we call this de facto citizenship. So you're coming from Vietnam or China or one of these countries or Singapore that doesn't allow dual citizenship. You can get your permanent residency in New Zealand. You can go back to your home country and 20 or 30 or 40 years down the track, go to New Zealand to retire because you've got your place secured there with permanent residency. That's a very, very attractive feature.

Australia doesn't have that. With Australia. Your permanent residency has to be maintained and it's usually it's a five year cycle, but you have to keep some sort of connection with Australia, either through stay or activities associated with Australia. To keep that going with New Zealand you don't have that requirement and that's quite significant.

José de Frankenberg: We spoke about the uncertainty in Australia, and a lot of times this has to do about politics, right. How is New Zealand as far as looking into the future? I don't know if you can speak to about do you anticipate any changes in the investor visa offerings?

James Hall: Well, actually I'm hopeful there will be some changes. So New Zealand might have a change of government coming up and there are some changes we'd like to see. So the previous program did have an option to get through without English language, and you could pay a certain fee to substitute for the English language. The new visa does require a minimum level of English competency on the IELTS test, which is the common tests used, which is graded from 0 to 9. It's a 5.0, so roughly half on the scale. And that's mandatory. You an't get by if you don't have English. We would like to see a change to give an option to still get through without that English language, because that excludes a lot of people, particularly people from China, that won't be competent in English. So that's something we'd like to see changed. I think that's something that New Zealand government will look at.

Another thing is under the previous program, there were options for transfers of funds from China through a process that isn't available currently for this new visa. Now, one of the big roadblocks for people from China is transferring of funds. New Zealand requires funds to be transferred direct through the banking system, and that's very difficult if you're coming from China, Vietnam and some other countries that have currency control. India as well also has challenges with this as well. And that can limit their access to this because we're talking large amounts of money that have to be transferred through the bank system to New Zealand.

James Hall: And it's not just. Any country, it's got to be transferred from the country where the money was earned. So if they earn that money in China, then they've got to transfer the money through the banking system from China. They can't have it parked in Singapore or Hong Kong or somewhere else and then transfer it to New Zealand, unless they can show it was first transferred to the banking system from China to, let's say, Singapore and then to New Zealand.

The exception is if they earned the money overseas. So if they've earned that $15 million, let's say in Singapore, then it's fine. They can transfer the money from Singapore to New Zealand, but if they earned it or part of it in China, then they've got to show it's been transferred out of China through the banking system. So we'd like to see some changes around that. Hopefully New Zealand and China can come to an arrangement to allow this. That's also dependent upon the Chinese government. As you'd know, China is not favorable at this time towards overseas investment generally. But New Zealand's had a good relationship with China. So we don't know. We'll have to wait and see how this pans out.

José de Frankenberg: We're coming to an end. And before we end, I want to ask you one last question. Looking ahead, how do you see the landscape for Australia and New Zealand regarding, , the investor and business immigration evolving?

James Hall: I can tell you what I think we'll see. Of course, I'd like to see programs that are processed promptly. And in the past we've had the significant investor visas processed within a year. I'd like to see that again. I'd like to see faster processing. I think we will actually get that, though. My thinking for the Australia side is that we'll see the significant investor visa come back from July next year. I'm very hopeful and I think that's a reasonable expectation. I think that we'll see that done as a separate program. So a new program to separate it from the existing backlog and probably still based around a A$5 million investment pathway, but probably a little bit of tweaking within that, there is a structured investment requirement that currently or previously required 20% investment in venture capital funds. That will probably increase slightly, probably to 30%. We'll then see some other fund requirements.

Within that, the government will decide on what's going to be beneficial to Australia. I think we'll also see the entrepreneur visa come back. So that's my bet that we'll see the significant investor visa A$5 billion pathway in a new form from July next year with faster processing. I think that's very, very likely. I don't think the government will avoid having that program.

I think they can see the benefits for that in New Zealand. I'm hopeful that we'll see the waiver for the English language or some option. The way that and hopefully some flexibility to allow applicants from China and some institutional options for investors from China. But that will depend upon relations between New Zealand and Australia. So that's my hope and that's what I believe we'll likely see. The thing we really don't know is those existing applications in the queue. You know, I'd love for them to be finalized and processed quickly. I don't think that's going to happen. I think we will see long processing times for that, until the government really decides on an effective way to deal with these applications.

José de Frankenberg: Thank you very much for this educational chat on our podcast. I want to thank you and ANZ Migrate once again. It's been very educational for us and we'd like to have you back on in the future, a great contributor on our platform. So thank you very much. Thank you.

James Hall: It's a pleasure.

José de Frankenberg: You've been listening to the Investment Immigration Podcast by Uglobal.com. Join us again soon for more in-depth conversations exploring investment immigration opportunities from around the world.

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