New Business Migration Visa Subclasses from July 2012

Reforms will be introduced to the business migration program from 1 July 2012. The business talent visa will be modified, and new visa subclasses will be introduced:

Business Talent Subclass 132

This is a permanent visa requiring applicants to:
  • Be under 55 in most cases
  • Be nominated by a state or territory government
  • Lodge an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect, and be invited by the Department of Immigration to apply for a business visa
There will be two streams:
  1. Significant Business History Stream: applicants must have net personal assets of at least AUD 1.5 million, net business assets of $400,000 and business turnover of at least AUD 3 million
  2. Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream: applicants must have venture capital funding of at least AUD 1 million

Basic criteria for the Significant Business History Stream are similar to the current Business Talent visa - with the addition of the requirement to go through SkillSelect.

The Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream is entirely new and is intended to encourage investment in Australia in innovative projects.

Provisional Business Innovation and Investment Subclass 188

This is a 4-year provisional visa requiring applicants to:
  • Be under 55 in most cases
  • Be nominated by a state or territory government
  • Lodge an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect, and be invited by Immigration to apply for a business visa
  • Meet the pass mark in the innovation points test

There will be two streams:

  1. Business Innovation Stream: applicants must have personal net assets of at least AUD 800,000 and business turnover of at least AUD 500,000
  2. Investor Stream: applicants must have personal net assets of at least AUD 2.25 million and make an investment of at least AUD 1.5 million in Australian state or territory bonds

The asset requirements for the Business Innovation Stream are higher than the current settings for state sponsored applicants (AUD 500,000 in personal net assets and AUD 300,000 in business turnover) and are similar to the current settings for non-sponsored applicants.

Unlike the current system, it will be possible for Business Innovation Stream visa holders to obtain a 2-year extension to the provisional visa to give applicants extra time to meet the requirements for the permanent stage.

Similarly, the assets and investment required for the Investor stream are higher than the current state nominated investor visas which require only AUD 750,000 to be invested in bonds.

A new stream to the subclass 188 visa will be introduced some time in 2012-13. This will be the Significant Investor Stream - applicants will need to make an investment of at least AUD 5 million into State or Territory Bonds, ASIC approved managed funds or directly into Australian companies. There will also be concessions on the residence requirement for such applicants when they apply their permanent business visa.

Permanent Business Innovation and Investment (Subclass 888)

This is the permanent stage for the new subclass 188 visa. There are two streams depending on which stream was applied for at the provisional visa stage:
  1. Business Innovation Stream: requires ownership of an Australian business with turnover of AUD 300,000 and two out of three of the following: business assets of AUD 200,000, net personal assets of AUD 600,000 or two full-time Australian employees.
  2. Investor Stream: requires the applicant to have maintained the investment used to obtain the provisional visa.
The following additional requirements will be introduced to improve the integrity of the program:
  • The ownership interest in a business must not have been acquired from a person who has applied for or holds a subclass 888 visa. This is intended to prevent a single business being used by a series of visa applicants to obtain permanent residence
  • It will no longer be possible for a spouse to be the main applicant for the 888 visa. The intention here is to avoid the scenario where one person obtains a 188 visa, but then does not settle in Australia, instead relying on their spouse to establish a business in Australia and obtain a 888 visa
  • Applicants for 888 visas will need to show they have complied with Australian tax and employment laws
  • 888 applicants must apply through the same state which nominated them for a 188 visa, unless they get permission from the original state to relocate

Conclusion

Exact details of the new visa subclasses should be available ahead of their introduction on 1 July 2012.

Feel free to contact us if you would like more information.

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