How Can I Get an Investor Visa for Australia?
For many years, international investors have seen Australia as a safe and fertile place to grow their wealth. Indeed, according to the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia had received AUD3.8 trillion in inward investment by the end of 2019, with the biggest sources being from the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, Japan, and Hong Kong. They also say that Australia has the 14th highest level of investment of any country in the world, ahead of countries such as Spain, Belgium, Mexico, Italy, and Russia. In terms of where foreign investors choose to place their money, 35.3% goes to mining and quarrying, followed by 12.9% for manufacturing, and 11.1% for financial and insurance activities.
If you are considering investing your funds into a venture in Australia, the Australian government provides a streamlined immigration pathway for you and your family members. In this article, we will outline the process of securing an investor visa for Australia.
What Are the Different Investor Streams in Australia?
If you are applying for an initial investor visa, it is likely you will do so using the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188). This allows you to own and manage a business, conduct business and investment activity, or undertake an entrepreneurial activity in Australia. There are several investor streams under this route, catering for different investment levels:
- Investor stream - requires you to invest at least AUD1.5 million in an Australian State or Territory and maintain business or investment activity in Australia.
- Significant Investor stream - for migrants with at least AUD5 million in Australian investments that meet certain requirements and maintain investment activity in Australia.
- Premium Investor stream – for migrants who are nominated by Austrade and who invest at least AUD15 million in Australian investments and/or philanthropic contributions
How Do I Apply for An Investor Visa for Australia?
There are several steps to securing an investor visa in Australia. In all cases you will first need to submit a formal ‘expression of interest’ (EOI), then wait to be nominated by a State or Territory government, or Austrade (the Australian government’s trade and investment agency). In the case of the premium investor stream, applicants must be nominated by Austrade. If you are nominated, you will then be invited to apply for an investor visa. The detailed steps are as follows:
Step 1) Submit an EOI
The EOI process is completed online on the Australian Department of Home Affairs’ Skillselect website. You will be asked a range of questions and your answers will be scored. If you pass, you may then be selected to apply.
Step 2) Collate the documents needed to support your application
For this, you will need (as shown on the Department of Home Affairs website):
- Evidence of ownership and the net value of your business and personal assets - this will include the completion of a Statement of Assets and Liabilities Position (SALP) showing a minimum asset value (depending on the stream you choose).
- Documents to support the ownership of all assets and liabilities and their values on the dates of each SALP – this may include some or all of the following:
- o for cash assets: bank statements, showing the account name and balance
- o for real estate assets: title deed, valuation certificate by an accredited property valuer and mortgage statement.
- o for personal loans: loan agreements showing the borrower and lender, loan statements showing the amount borrowed and repayment schedule.
- o for stocks and bonds: share or debentures certificates, fixed interest securities, ownership and market value of claimed marketable securities such as bonds.
- o for business assets: financial statements for each business, prepared by an independent accountant to International Accounting Standards, including a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and notes to the accounts. Your share of ownership in each business must also be evidenced by documents such as:
- historical company extracts
- annual returns of directors and shareholders
- partnership, trust or franchise agreements
- purchase documents
- share transfer documents.
- o If you want to include assets held by a trust, you must include a complete copy of the trust deed including all schedules.
- Evidence of the funds to be used to make the Designated investment
- o a list of the funds in your latest SALP that you intend to use to fund your Designated Investment
- o a summary describing how these funds were sourced from your qualifying business or eligible investment activities.
- o evidence should also be provided of these sources where possible, for example, evidence of long‐term employment, profits earned and retained in your business, or investment yields
- Evidence that you have at least three years of owning and managing either a qualifying business in which you held at least 10 per cent ownership; or AUD 1.5 million eligible investments (not including your home).
- Evidence that you meet the English language requirement
- A certified copy of any qualifications you disclosed in your EOI
- A statement of your assets and liabilities position
- Financial accounts for two of the last four financial years
- Details of your business experience
- Details of any registered trademarks, designs, patents etc.
- Other documents relating to character, health, your partner, and any dependants.
Step 3) Complete and submit your investor visa application
You will also need to pay the application fee of AUD$5,375 for the investor stream, AUD$7,880 for the significant investor stream, and AUD$9,455 for the premium investor stream.
As you can see, the processing of applying for an investor visa also requires a considerable investment of time. For this reason, it is always recommended that you use the services of international immigration lawyers who can manage the whole process for you, only involving you or your team when needed. This not only removes the burden of completing the application and the necessary supporting documents, but it also ensures that you have the best chance of securing a positive decision first time. This, in turn means that you can make your intended investment in a timely manner and that you can take advantage of the opportunity you have found.