Australia’s current government is sweetening the deal for investors with its recent Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) changes.
They’re altering core aspects of the program to attract job creators and skilled migrants. Here, we’ll review the upcoming changes and talk about why Australia is an attractive destination for foreign investors.
Australia’s investor-friendly visa programs
TMA founder Sarah Thapa recently partnered with Frasers Property Group to present insights about Australian business innovation and investor visa changes and permanent residency benefits on JuWai, a Chinese property investment platform for high-net-worth investors. She highlighted these key benefits of migrating to Australia in her presentation:
- People with business or investment interests (including property) can qualify for certain Australian visas.
- Investor migrants can achieve permanent residency after four years (soon to be reduced to three years), which affords multiple benefits like health care system access, social security eligibility, a great education system, and the right to remain in Australia indefinitely.
- Migrants who come to the country on investor visas can apply for citizenship after five years.
Australia has attracted investor migrants around the world and offers a range of visas to cater to an investor’s circumstances, which include:
- Business visitor visas, which allow property investors to spend between 90 days and one year in the country to visit and manage their investments
- Skilled visas that allow opportunities to live and work in Australia indefinitely and enjoy benefits with property ownership
- Business innovation and investor visas, which are designed for high-net-worth individuals who invest in Australian businesses to achieve permanent residency through holding qualifying investments
- Global talent visas, which is the latest fast track visa pathway for high achievers in innovative science, healthcare, and technology fields
Federal changes to investor and business visas
Starting in July 2021, the Australian government has announced changes that impact investor and business visa applicants. Last year, the country invested $1.3 billion into these programs to help offset the economic effects of COVID-19, and this year’s changes are meant to further support job creation and skilled migration.
Additionally, the government increased available BIIP spots from 6,862 in 2019-2020 to 13,500 in 2020-2021 — a jump of more than 50 percent that creates great opportunities for both employers and skilled migrants.
The following are core changes going into effect for BIIP visas on July 1, 2021.
Simplifications to the program
The program is being pared down from nine visa streams to four: business innovation, entrepreneur, investor, and significant investor. The Government is closing off applications for the premium investor, significant business history, and venture capital entrepreneur visas starting July 1st, but applications lodged before then will continue to be processed.
Next, temporary visa holders in all four streams can apply for permanent residency after three years, but the temporary visa will now be valid for five years, which gives applicants additional time to meet the requirements for permanent residency. Recent changes also allow business innovation and significant investor temporary visa holders to apply for two-year extensions as long as they continue to meet their visa and investment obligations.
Changes to Eligibility Criteria
Moving forward, business innovation visa holders (subclass 188A) will need to hold business or personal assets of $1.25 million instead of $800,000 and have an annual turnover of $750,000 instead of $500,000. These increases are meant to further ensure that migrants possess solid business skills and can contribute to Australia’s economy and workforce in a long-term way.
There are no changes to the investor visa (subclass 188B) eligibility requirements, meaning that investors can qualify for the program if they have a $2.25 million net worth and are willing to invest $1.5 million in Government bonds. Some States and Territories have adjusted their investment requirements, however, which are outlined below.
Finally, entrepreneur visa applicants will need to be nominated by a State or Territory government, but they don’t have to meet the $200,000 funding agreement threshold any longer. This will place control over who can apply under the entrepreneur stream with State and Territory Governments rather than venture capital firms.
All these changes are meant to streamline the programs and offer excellent opportunities to innovative people who invest in Australia’s future. When revealing the changes, government officials emphasised the fact that they regularly consult with experts and industry leaders to ensure the programs are working effectively.
State-by-state program changes
While changes are occurring at the federal level, there are also state-by-state differences to be aware of. The states set their own nomination criteria that an investor must meet in order to be invited for a visa, this is in addition to the legal criteria outlined in the Migration Act.
For example, NSW requires business innovation visa applicants to demonstrate a higher business turnover than the statutory minimum, requiring a $1 million investment if migrating within metropolitan Sydney compared to the standard $500,000 (soon to be $750,000) if migrating to a regional area.
Victoria is another state that has particular criteria to meet its objectives for foreign investment. Victoria requires that a business innovation visa applicant has an MBA or tertiary qualifications in STEMM, or they must have operated a business in an innovative field such as digital technology, health or life sciences, agri-food, energy, circular economy, priority precincts, or advanced manufacturing.
In Western Australia, a visa applicant requires a slightly higher net worth of $900,000 to qualify for a business innovation visa.
Therefore, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing where to migrate to in Australia as an investor. Our immigration specialists can help map out a migration strategy based on the State / Territory eligibility criteria.
Take advantage of these upcoming changes with TMA’s help
Businesses and individuals can benefit from the updates to the investor and business visa streams. On the business side, the changes will continue to attract a more innovative, high net-worth individual who can invest and contribute to Australia’s economic growth. Individuals can eventually achieve permanent residency – with all the related benefits – if they meet the requirements for the business or investor visas after three years. Best of all, with the increase in available spots, there are more opportunities than ever before to take advantage of these programs.
If you need help with understanding your investment migration options and strategy planning, contact the immigration experts at TMA today.