By Anayat Durrani
Looking to get a visa to live in Australia? Investors will now need to pay an extra $1 million to do so under a revised migration scheme that seeks greater investment in local businesses. The changes are set to take effect starting on July 1.
“The reasons for the changes are for attracting migrants with proven business skills and also to give benefit to the Australian States/Territories to attract migration based international investment,” says Venkateswaran Palat Krishnan, immigration attorney and registered migration agent in Australia.
The Morrison Government is reforming the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) to boost Australian jobs, encourage the growth of key sectors and support Australia’s economic bounce back from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke said that the changes would improve the quality of investments and increase the economic benefits for Australia.
More than $15.9 billion has been invested into the Australian economy since 2012, Minister Hawke said. He called the country an attractive destination for investors and said the “increased investment thresholds and the adjustment of investment ratios to focus more on venture capital and private growth equity will better support innovation and emerging enterprises in Australia.”
“The number of places available in the BIIP has almost doubled from 6,862 in 2019-20 to 13,500 places for 2020-2021,” says Krishnan.
CHANGES APPLY FROM JULY
Key changes that will come into effect in July include that the Business and Investor visa program will be simplified into four visa streams: Business Innovation, Entrepreneur, Investor, and Significant Investor. “All these are provisional visas, and require nomination by an Australian State/Territory government (or Austrade),” he says.
Investors will have a choice of the four types of visa options instead of the earlier nine types of visa options, he says, each offering a clear pathway to permanent residency. Provisional visa holders in all four streams will be able to apply for permanent residence if they meet the requirements after three years, he says.
However, he says investors should note that now there is no direct permanent residency visa available for the business and investment route because the Significant Business History and Venture Capital Entrepreneur visas (Subclass 132) will be closed to new applications beginning on July 1, 2021.
“All business and investment visas are provisional visas valid for five years, which after a three year period can apply the permanent residence, subject to meeting the conditions,” says Krishnan.
Under the proposed changes, the investment amount under the Investor stream of the program will be increased from $1.5 million to $2.5 million to gain a visa, with the Significant Investor stream threshold staying at $5 million.
Other changes include that the venture capital and private equity component of the Complying Investment Framework will increase from 10 to 20 percent, with a further 30 percent dedicated to emerging companies. The balancing investment component will drop from 60 to 50 percent.
“Investors will have clarity on the investment requirements and the pathway to permanent residency through investment. The investors have five years instead of previous four years to meet the requirements for acquiring permanent residency,” says Krishnan. “As each State/Territory will have their own conditions, the investor can choose to apply to the region that suits the investment interest.”
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