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Australia Investor Visa Requirements

It is easy to see why Australia is such a popular destination for migrant investors. With an estimated GDP last year of AU$1.89 trillion and the second-largest median wealth per adult, the economy continues to boom in the ‘lucky country’. In fact, according to official statistics, Australia in recent years has taken the mantle for enjoying the longest run of uninterrupted GDP growth in the developed world. The largest proportion of the Australian economy is made up of the service sector, accounting for nearly 63% of its overall GDP. In this article, we will discuss the Australian Investor visa and the eligibility requirements which must be met by prospective applicants.

What Types of Investor Visas are Available in Australia?

Investment immigration routes in Australia fall under the category of Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188). There are three ‘streams’ catering for different scales of investment, as follows:

  • Investor stream - requires an investment of at least AUD1.5 million
  • Significant Investor stream - requires an investment of at least AUD5 million
  • Premium Investor stream - requires an investment of at least AUD15 million

Each provisional investment visa allows the holder to remain in Australia for four years and three months. You will then be able to apply for the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888) provided that you meet the requirements for permanent residence.

What are the Requirements for an Investor Visa?

For all Australian investor visa streams, you will need to be nominated before you can formally apply. For the Investor and Significant Investor streams, the Department of Internal Affairs will require you to be nominated by an Australian State or Territory government agency or Austrade before being invited to apply. The Premium stream can only be used if you are nominated by Austrade.

The process by which you become nominated differs if you are using the non-premium routes; with these streams, you will need to submit an expression of interest (EOI) and wait to be invited. Under the premium route, you must be invited to apply by Austrade, however, prospective applicants should be aware that according to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, “unsolicited expressions of interest are not accepted”.

Once you are nominated by an approved body, you will then need to prove that you meet the following requirements:

Investor stream – you must be able to show:

  • you are under 55 years old
  • you have managed a qualifying business or investments to the value of at least AUD1.5million
  • for the two financial years immediately preceding your invitation to apply, “you, your partner, or you and your partner together, have business and personal assets with a net value of at least AUD2.25 million. These assets must have been lawfully acquired and be available for transfer to Australia within two years of the visa being granted.”
  • that you have made a designated investment of at least AUD1.5 million in the State or Territory in which the nominating State or Territory government agency is located.
  • you have at least three years' experience managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments
  • you have a successful record of eligible investment or qualifying business activity
  • you have demonstrated a high level of management skill in relation to the eligible investment or qualifying business activity
  • you score at least 65 on the points test (this will have been calculated when you submitted your expression of interest – EOI)
  • you meet the English language, health, and character requirements.

Significant Investor stream – you must be able to show:

  • you have made a complying investment of at least AUD5 million when invited to do so. This must be invested in the following proportions:
    • at least AUD500,000 in venture capital and growth private equity funds which invest in start-ups and small private companies
    • at least AUD1.5 million in approved managed funds. The managed funds must invest in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange
    • a ‘balancing investment’ of at least AUD3 million in managed funds
  • you meet the English language, health, and character requirements.

Premium Investor stream – you must be able to show:

  • Once you have submitted your premium investor visa application, you will need to provide evidence that you have made a complying investment of at least AUD15 million in any of the following:
  • Australian securities exchange listed assets
  • Australian Government or semi-government bonds or notes
  • corporate bonds or notes issued by an Australian exchange listed entity (or wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australian listed entity), investment-grade rated Australian corporate bonds or notes rated by an AFS licenced debt rating agency
  • Australian proprietary limited companies that operate qualifying businesses (providing goods or services to the public with a profit-making intention, and not passive or speculative in nature)
  • real property in Australia excluding residential property
  • deferred annuities issued by Australian registered life companies
  • state or territory government approved philanthropic contribution
  • You have net assets of AUD15 million or more, which belong to you, your partner, or you and your partner combined.
  • you meet the English language, health, and character requirements.

In addition, with all investor streams, the Department of Internal Affairs will also seek to verify that applicants do not have a history of involvement in unacceptable activities (e.g., criminal activity). You will also need to sign the Australian ‘values statement’, have no debt owing to the Australian Government, and never have had a visa or previous immigration application refused.

Final words

The Australian Government is keen to welcome investors from countries around the world. If you are considering applying for an investment visa, it is always recommended to seek the help and guidance of international immigration lawyers who can manage your case on your behalf from the outset. Doing so will remove the burden from your shoulders allowing you to focus on your business interests while your visa is being dealt with on your behalf and on behalf of your family.

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"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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