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Fact Sheet 27 – Business Migration

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Australia's Business Innovation and Investment Programme encourages successful business people to settle in Australia and use their proven skills to develop business activity in Australia.

Background

The Business Innovation and Investment Programme is designed to increase entrepreneurial talent and diversify business expertise in Australia. It is positioned to target migrants that have a demonstrated history of success in innovation, investment and business and are able to make a significant contribution to the national innovation system and to the Australian economy.

The objectives of the programme are to contribute to the growth of the Australian economy by:

  • generating employment
  • increasing the export of Australian goods and services
  • increasing the production of goods and services in Australia
  • introducing new or improved technology
  • increasing competition and commercial activity
  • developing links with international markets
  • increasing the dispersal of business migrants across Australia through state and territory government sponsorship.

Structure of the Business Innovation and Investment Programme

The Business Innovation and Investment Programme is a state/territory nominated programme which is made up of three subclasses:

  • Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132)
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188)
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888).

Most business innovation and investment migrants enter Australia on a provisional visa for a minimum of four years and after satisfactory evidence of a specified level of business or investment activity, may apply for permanent residence.

Alternatively business migrants may apply for a business talent visa to get direct permanent residence if they have high level business skills or have obtained funding from an Australian venture capital firm.

State-specific initiatives

Australia is actively encouraging business migrants to set up businesses in regional, rural or low growth areas of Australia.

The Business Innovation and Investment Programme enables states and territories to attract and nominate the kinds of business people they are seeking to help in the economic development of their regions.

The business innovation and investment visa categories

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188)

The provisional business innovation and investment visa is for successful business innovators and investors who intend to invest or enter into business in Australia and contribute to the growth of the Australian economy.

This visa has three primary streams:

  • The business innovation stream—for people with a successful business career and a genuine and realistic commitment to be involved as an owner in a new or existing business in Australia
  • The investor stream—for people with a successful record of qualifying business or eligible investment activity who will make a designated investment in a state or territory of Australia and have a realistic commitment to continue to maintain business or investment activity in Australia after the designated investment has matured.
  • The significant investor stream—for people who are willing to invest at least $5 million into complying investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.

The Business Innovation and Investment Programme incorporates access to flexibility provisions to assist business people to achieve permanent residence and encourage innovative business. Provisional visa holders who were granted their visa by meeting the requirements for the business innovation stream may be eligible to apply for a two year extension to their provisional visa provided they are nominated by a state or territory government for the extension.

Similarly, significant investor visa holders can renew their visa twice, to provide a maximum of eight years on their provisional visa.

Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888)

The permanent business innovation and investment visa is designed to attract business people to assist in the economic development of Australia. The visa allows you to stay in Australia on a permanent basis for the purpose of owning a new or existing business or continuing investment in Australia. To be eligible for this visa you must be the primary holder of a provisional Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa.

The Permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa has three streams:

  • The business innovation stream—for people who own and manage a business in Australia and have met certain business threshold requirements
  • The investor stream—for people who have a designated investment in an Australian state or territory and want to maintain business and/or investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.
  • The significant investor stream—for people have invested at least $5 million into complying investments in Australia and want to maintain business and/or investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.

Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132)

Under the Business Innovation and Investment Programme the business talent visa is made up of two streams:

  • The significant business history stream—aimed towards high calibre business people who are owners or part owners of an overseas business and have a genuine and realistic commitment to participate in the management of a new or existing business in Australia.
  • The venture capital entrepreneur stream—to facilitate the entry of migrant entrepreneurs with a high potential business idea who have sourced venture capital funding in Australia. Migrant entrepreneurs will be required to have sourced at least $1 million in venture capital funding through a member of the Australian Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL), for early phase start-up, product commercialisation or business development and expansion.

Nomination from an Australian state or territory government is required for these two streams.

After arrival obligations of Business visa holders

As well as the requirements that provisional visa holders must meet to secure permanent residence, there are specific monitoring provisions and obligations that business talent visa holders must meet.

Business talent visa holders must provide the department with a contact address within six months of their initial arrival.

Their progress is monitored after arrival and they will be sent a letter requesting details of their business activity 24 months after their initial arrival in Australia.

Where a business talent visa holder has not made a genuine effort to obtain a substantial ownership interest in an eligible business within three years of arrival, they may be liable for visa cancellation under section 134 of the Migration Act 1958.

Business innovation and investment (provisional) visa holders are required to obtain an ownership interest in a business in Australia or maintain their investment in Australia for up to four years. If this requirement is not met, they may not be eligible to apply for a business innovation and investment (permanent) visa and may have to leave Australia.

Fact Sheet 27. Produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Canberra.
Last reviewed December 2013.