Singaporean invested A$5 million to build a new life in Australia

Uglobal Immigration Magazine 5.1

Article By Uglobal Staff

By Moustafa Daly

Australia is famous for many things that make it a place like no other. But aside from the kangaroos and koalas, the land down under also offers a vibrant business environment, high quality of life, and a powerful passport, checking many marks investors look for when they seek residency by investment.

The world’s 14th largest economy, however, has one of the priciest residency-by-investment programs anywhere. The country’s Significant Investor Visa requires a whopping investment of A$ 5 million ($3,350,000) for consideration. Despite being markedly higher than most similar programs, SIV has been popular since its launch in 2012, drawing in more than 2000 investors, mostly Chinese, who collectively invested north of $11 billion in the country over the past decade.

Ethan Lee, a 70-year-old citizen of Singapore, is amongst the investors who were granted the SIV after making a A$ 5 million investment in Australia back in 2017. Following a prolific 40-year-career that saw him occupy various business consultant and investor roles across a number of Asian countries, Lee had finally decided to pursue an investor’s residency in Australia. Even though Australia’s vibrant economy and ease of doing business were significant attractors, it was something else that sealed the deal for him.

“I have always loved Australians’ zest for life, worldview and energy,” says Lee. “I have worked with multinational corporations across Asia, Australia and the UK, and always particularly enjoyed working with my easy-going Australian colleagues and business partners.”

He added: “Australia is well known as an open market that is receptive to new ideas and opportunities. It is also a great place where quality of life is good and I can strike a balance between work and family.”

Investing in Australia’s Significant Investor Visa program

Lee’s decision to pursue a new life in Australia began in 2017. It was when he turned 65 and felt a reshuffling of priorities was due – but he’s not one to seek a retiree lifestyle.

“I wanted to remain active in business while pursuing personal interests so as to maintain a balanced lifestyle. I found that Australia was the ideal place that would allow me to do all those,” he explains.

The road to the Australian SIV, however, was not paved with roses. Much like the rest of humanity, the Covid-19 pandemic proved fatal to his initial attempt.

“The process of my first application was indeed challenging as there was quite a lot of paperwork to prepare. The Covid-19 pandemic made it even more difficult especially in communicating with the previous migration agent and obtaining the relevant information required for the application,” recounts Lee. “Covid-19 could be considered as a blessing in disguise. Using the lockdown, we made an assessment on the business plans due to uncertain market conditions. This prompted me to seek advice from another agent to explore other options.”

The assessment and legal advice of agents from ANZ Migration and Moelis Australia led Lee to decide to go with the SIV investment route. In his initial attempt, he tried to get residency status by investing A$ 1.5 million, but it was eventually rejected. With better advice and a bigger investment, he was able to secure his SIV in just three months, and then he obtained residency after a similar period.

Embarking on a new future in Australia

With newly-obtained legal rights to live and work in the country, Lee left Singapore with two family members to start a new life in Australia. With his investment resting in an approved hedge fund managed by an accredited fund manager, he’s looking forward to a balanced life full of business and pleasure. Grateful for his new home, he’s even factoring in Australia’s best economic interest in his future business plans.

“My plan is to continue to look for new business opportunities such as attracting foreign investors to Australia. I am also planning to spend more time in community services and mentoring new business startups,” he said.

*The name of the interviewee has been altered at their request 

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Uglobal Staff
Uglobal Staff, along with its peer-reviewed magazines and conferences series, focuses on the global investment immigration market, offering the latest trends and analyses. is a media platform built to provide professionals involved with global programs with the most comprehensive and credible sources of information in digital, print and seminar mediums. The platform was created out of the need for marketplace transparency and to more efficiently connect individuals interested in learning about the global programs - either as a potential capital source or as a solution for their immigration needs. The Uglobal publication collaborates with a network of leading experts and an authoritative board of advisors to uphold a high standard in all content delivered and events hosted by the organization.

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