Business Skills Visas

Australia’s Business Skills Program encourages successful business people to settle in Australia and use their proven business attributes to develop business activity in Australia. Business migrants are particularly welcomed if an applicant is capable of or have a strong business background of:-
  • Developing international markets
  • Transferring capital and making investments
  • Creating or maintaining employment
  • Exporting Australian goods and services
  • Introducing new or improved technology
  • Substituting Australian-made products for goods that would otherwise be imported
  • Adding to commercial activity and competitiveness within sectors of the Australian economy.
Since 01 July 2012, the majority of all Business Skills migrants are required to enter Australia initially on a provisional (temporary) visa for four years
And, after satisfactory evidence of a specified level of business or investment activity, may apply for permanent residence. These arrangements continue to provide for the entry of business owners, investors, and high net worth applicants.
Currently the three categories of Business Skills visas are:-
  • Business Talent (Migrant) Subclass 132 visa;
  • Business Innovation & Investment Subclass 188 visa;
  • Business Innovation & Investment Subclass 888 visa;
  • Significant Investor Visa (Subclass 188 followed by Subclass 888)
  • Premium Investor Visa (to be launched on 01 July 2015).
The Significant Investor visa has been introduced as a new stream within the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (Subclass 188) visa
And the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) (Subclass 888) visa. The purpose of the visa is to provide a boost to the Australian economy and to compete effectively for high net worth individuals seeking investment migration. Migrant investors will be required to invest $5million into complying investments for a minimum of four years before being eligible to apply for a permanent visa.
The PIV will be a new visa stream within the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188). The new visa stream will:-
  • Require investment of AUD 15 million into complying investments;
  • Provide an opportunity for permanent residence after 12 months; and
  • Have no residency requirement.

Nomination for the PIV will be exclusively by the Commonwealth (Austrade).

In order to achieve this recommendation, Austrade will assume policy responsibility for determining what constitutes a complying investment for the purposes of the PIV.

Business Talent (Migrant) Subclass 132 Visa

To be eligible to apply for this visa the applicant must be nominated by an Australian state or Territory of his/her choice.
This category of visa has two streams:-
  • Significant Business History stream:- for high-calibre business owners or part-owners who want to do business in Australia.
  • Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream: for applicants who have sourced venture capital funding from a member of the Australian Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL).
Significant Business History Stream.
The applicant, his/her partner, or both combined must have all of the following:-
  • Total net assets of at least $400,000 as the ownership interest in one or more qualifying businesses for least two of the four fiscal years immediately before the applicant is invited to apply and if the qualifying business is a public listed company, a shareholding of at least 10 per cent of the total issued capital.
  • Net business and personal assets of at least $1.5 million that are legally acquired and can be transferred to Australia within two years after the visa is granted.
  • A total annual turnover of at least $3 million in one or more of the applicant's main businesses in at least two of the four fiscal years immediately before he/she is invited to apply.
  • Ownership of at least:-
    • 51 per cent of a business with turnover of less than $400,000 per year.
    • 30 per cent of a business with turnover of more than $400,000 per year, or
    • 10 per cent of a public listed company.
    • An overall successful business career.
    • No involvement in unacceptable business activities.
    • A genuine desire to own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia.

The applicant must also be younger than 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if the proposed business will be of exceptional economic benefit to the region where it will operate.

Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream.
To be eligible to apply for the visa under this stream the applicant must meet the following criteria:-
  • Have received at least $1 million in funding from an Australian venture capital firm.
  • The funding must be for the start-up, product commercialisation or business development of a promising high-value business idea.
  • The venture capital firm must be a member of the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL). AVCAL has information about the venture capital category of membership in its Venture Capital entrepreneur visa factsheet.
  • Have entered into a formal agreement with the venture capital firm for the funding.

Business Innovation & Investment Subclass 188 Visa

A prospective applicant for the visa must first submit

An Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect and be nominated by a state or territory government before being invited to apply for this visa. Once an invitation to apply for the visa is received the applicant has 60 days to lodge his/her visa application. The visa is divided into three streams:-

  • Business Innovation stream- This visa is for an applicant with business skills who wants to establish, develop and manage a new or existing business in Australia.
  • Investor stream- This visa is for an applicant who wants to make a designated investment of at least $1.5million in an Australian state or territory and maintain business and investment activity in Australia.
  • Significant Investor stream- This visa is for an applicant who wishes to invest at least $5million into complying investments in Australia and wants to maintain business and investment activity in Australia.

Holding one of the above visa is the first stage before becoming eligible to qualify for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Subclass 888 visa.

Business Innovation stream

To be eligible the applicant must:-

  • Be under 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if the applicant's proposed business will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory.
  • Score at least 65 points on the points test.
  • For two out of the four fiscal years immediately before he/she is invited to apply, have had an ownership interest in an established business or businesses that had at least $500,000 turnover in each of those years.
  • At the time of invitation, the applicant, his/her partner, or both combined must have total net business and personal assets of at least $800,000 that are lawfully acquired and available for legal transfer to Australia within two years of the visa being granted.
  • Own at least one of the following percentage of his/her nominated main business:-
    • 51 per cent, if the business has a turnover of less than $400,000 per year.
    • 30 per cent, if the business has a turnover of $400,000 or more per year.
    • 10 per cent, if the business is a public listed company.
  • Have an overall successful business career.
  • Have a genuine desire to continuously own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia.

If the nominated main business provides professional, technical or trade services, the applicant must have spent no more than half his/her time providing those services, as opposed to general management of the business.

Investor streamTo be eligible the applicant must:-
  • Be under 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if the proposed investment will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory.
  • Score at least 65 on the points test.
  • Have a high level of management skill in relation to the eligible investment or qualifying business activity.
  • Have at least three years' experience of direct involvement in managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments.
  • Have an overall successful record of eligible investment or qualifying business activity.
  • Have a genuine and realistic commitment to continuing his/her business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.
  • Have a genuine intention to live for at least two years in the state or territory in which he/she has made the designated investment.

The prospective applicant, his/her partner or both combined must:-

  • For at least one of the five fiscal years immediately before receiving the invitation to apply, have directly managed one of the following:-
    • A qualifying business in which the applicant, his/her partner or both combined had at least 10 per cent ownership interest, or
    • Eligible investments owned by the applicant, his/her partner or both combined of at least $1.5million.
  • During the two fiscal years immediately before the applicant is invited to apply, have legally acquired net business, investment and personal assets of at least $2.25 million that are available for legal transfer to Australia within two years of the visa being granted.
  • Make a designated investment of at least $1.5 million in a state or territory government security using unencumbered funds accumulated from qualifying businesses or eligible investments and be prepared to hold that investment for at least four years from date of issue in the nominating state or territory.
Significant Investor stream

To be eligible to apply for the visa the applicant must make a complying investment of at least $5 million in any of the following options, in any proportion, and hold that investment continuously for at least four years:-

  • Commonwealth, state or territory government bonds.
  • Eligible managed funds - that are limited to investing in any or all of the following Australian assets:-
    • Infrastructure projects in Australia.
    • Cash held by Australian deposit-taking institutions.
    • Bonds issued by the Commonwealth Government or a State or Territory government.
    • Bonds, equity, hybrids or other corporate debt in companies and trusts listed or expected to be listed within 12 months on any Australian stock exchange.
    • Bonds or term deposits issued by Australian financial institutions.
    • Real property in Australia.
    • Australian agribusiness.
    • Annuities issued by an Australian registered life company in accordance with section 9 or 12A of the Life Insurance Act 1995.
    • Loans secured by mortgages over the investments listed above.
    • Derivatives used for portfolio management and non-speculative purposes which constitute no more than 20 per cent of the total value of the managed fund.
    • Other managed funds that invest in the investments listed above.
  • Direct investment into private Australian companies - in which the applicant has an ownership interest. The company needs to operate a qualifying business if the applicant intends to apply for and meet the criteria for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888) in the Significant Investor stream.

The applicant must also have a genuine and realistic commitment to:-

  • Reside in the state or territory whose government agency nominated him/her.
  • Continue his/her business and investment activity in Australia after the complying investment matures.
  • Live in Australia for at least 160 cumulative days over the period while holding the 4 year provisional visa.

Business Innovation & Investment Subclass 888 Visa

The Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent)

Subclass 888 visa is the second stage of the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Subclass 188 visa. This visa can be applied for after the applicant has fulfilled the requirements of his/her provisional visa. A new Expression of Interest need not be applied for nor is there a requirement to be invited to apply for this visa.

Business Innovation Stream

To be eligible to apply for this visa the applicant must have been residing in Australia and held for at least one year in the two years immediately before applying one of the following:-

    • A Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) in the Business Innovation stream or the Business Innovation Extension stream.

A Special Category visa (subclass 444). A Business (Long Stay) visa (subclass 457IE). In addition, the applicant must be able to show ongoing business involvement, meet certain financial requirements, and have a history of employing Australian workers.

Ongoing Business Involvement

The applicant must be able to show that he/she or with their partner together have:-

  • Had an ownership interest (and continue to have an ownership interest) and a direct and continuous management role in an actively operating main business (or main businesses) in Australia for the two years immediately before applying.
  • Had an annual turnover of at least $300,000 from the main business (or businesses) in the 12 months before applying. (A nominating state or territory might agree to waive the requirement to show an annual turnover of $300,000 if the applicant lived and operated his/her business in a specified regional area of Australia).
  • Owned at least one of the following percentages of the main business (or main businesses) in Australia in the year immediately before applying:-
    • 51 per cent of a business with a turnover of less than $400,000 per year.
    • 30 per cent of a business with a turnover of $400,000 or more per year.
    • 10 per cent of a public listed company.
  • Obtained an Australian Business Number for each of the main businesses.
  • Submitted Business Activity Statements to the Australian Taxation Office for the two years immediately before applying.
  • Not acquired the ownership in his/her main business (or two main businesses) from a person who was an applicant for, or a holder of, a permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888) or a permanent business skills visa (in subclasses 890, 891, 892 or 893), unless the applicant and that person had a joint interest in the main business for at least one year before applying for the visa.

The applicant or his/her partner, or both combined must also demonstrate that at least two of the following requirements have been achieved:-

  • A net value of business assets of at least $200,000 in the nominated main business (or two main businesses) in Australia throughout the year immediately before applying.
  • A net value of personal and business assets of at least $600,000 in Australia throughout the year immediately before applying.
  • Employed at least the equivalent of two full-time employees in the main business (or main businesses), throughout the year immediately before applying who are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, or holders of valid New Zealand passports and who are not the applicant's family members.
Investor Stream

To be eligible to apply for this visa the applicant must have been residing in Australia and held his/her provisional visa for at least two of the four years immediately before applying. In addition, the applicant or his/her partner combined must have held a designated investment with an Australian state or territory for at least four years.

Significant Investor Stream

To be eligible to apply for this visa the applicant must have held at the time of application:-

  • A provisional visa (subclass 188) in the Significant Investor stream or in the Significant Investor Extension stream.
  • If he/she has been in the Significant Investor Stream must have resided in Australia accumulatively for 160 days in the past four years.
  • If he/she has been in the Significant Investor Extension Stream (one extension), must have resided in Australia accumulatively for 240 days in the past six years.
  • If he/she has been in the Significant Investor Extension Stream (two extensions), must have resided in Australia accumulatively for 320 days in the past eight years.

In addition, the applicant or with his/her partner combined must have:-

If an applicant is able to meet all the requirements of any particular category of visa he/she intends to apply for,

Then he/she is invited to contact SMP Immigration Consultants by completing the Assessment Form in this website for a proper assessment to determine whether an application should be lodged with the Department of Immigration & Border Protection. This assessment costs only $150.00 and is credited to the applicant's fees payable if he/she proceeds to instruct us to proceed with an application. In all instances lodgement fees (which can be quite substantial) once paid to the Australian Department of Immigration is non-refundable. Therefore the $150.00 assessment fee paid is money well spent.

Please note that the immigration information provided in this website is a guide only.

You are advised to contact SMP Immigration Consultants or the Department of Immigration & Border Protection for specific answers to any question affecting your case. For a prompt reply to any query with regard to your case you are invited to submit your confidential completed Assessment Form to SMP Consultants for an accurate and quick assessment of your specific case.

Contact us for a free assessment.