By Moustafa Daly
The Australian government announced that it has scrapped its residency by investment (RBI) program.
The Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) was a popular route for foreigners to obtain residency in Australia in exchange for investments ranging from AUD 2.5 to 5 million. (approx. $1.6 to $3.2 million).
The decision was taken after a government review in 2023 found the economic rewards of the program unsatisfactory.
"It has been obvious for years that this visa is not delivering what our country and economy needs," said the Australian Minister for Home Affairs Clare O'Neil in a statement.
The program was also criticized and seen by some as corrupt. "For far too long, corrupt officials and kleptocrats have used golden visas as a vehicle to park their illicit funds in Australia and arguably hide their proceeds of crime,” said Clancy Moore, the chief executive of Transparency International Australia, to the BBC.
BIPP backlog remains, uncertainty over future of pending applications
The Australian program has a major backlog that has kept foreign investors waiting for their residences for long periods of time; years in many cases.
“The program has been closed to new applicants since July 2023, when the new program year commenced, and no new places were available,” says James Hall, director at ANZ Migrate. “We knew it was coming since the outcome of the review published in April 2023.”
However, the government has yet to address the backlog.
“We know there's also a major unaddressed issue of the 20k+ applications in the queue for processing,” says Hall. “The current annual quota (which caps the maximum number of grants each year) indicates a processing time of up to 12 years. The government is yet to decide what they want to do about these.”
Yet, Hall expects Australia to offer another investment migration program in the future. “There's a new visa coming, but they're not going to provide new places under the current,” he says.
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