29 Apr Australia Residency by investment program
Australia offers investors and business owners several options for temporary residency through its Business Innovation and Investment Program. Some of the schemes allow investors to apply for permanent residency after a set time.
This article outlines the five visa pathways currently available, reviewing these topics:
- Overview of Australia’s residency by investment program
- What is the Australia residency by investment program?
- Benefits of Australian residency by investment
- Eligibility criteria for Australia’s residency by investment program
- Investment options for Australia’s residency by investment program
- Application process to acquire Australian residency by investment
- Summary of Australia’s residency by investment program
What is the Australia residency by investment program?
Australia offers five options for temporary residency by investment, as part of its Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP). The three schemes are Investor, Significant Investor, Premium Investor, Business Innovation and Entrepreneur.
If your business proves successful, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent residence visa. All streams involve maintaining a business in Australia, by investment or by transferring a business from your home country.
The minimum investment in the new business investment streams is AUD 2.5 million, and the visa processing time varies between six months and two years, approximately.
Benefits of Australian residency by investment
The Business Innovation and Investment Program offers several benefits to high-net-worth individuals looking to invest in Australia for business purposes. These are some of the main advantages:
- Visa flexibility: The BIIP offers flexibility in terms of visa streams and subclasses, allowing applicants to choose the stream that best fits their business or investment goals. Some streams, such as the Significant Investor stream, offer more relaxed residency requirements, making it an attractive option for high-net-worth individuals who may not wish to actively manage a business in Australia.
- Permanent residency possible after three years: One of the main benefits of the BIIP is the opportunity to obtain permanent residency in Australia. Depending on the stream and visa subclass, successful applicants may be granted permanent residency directly or may be eligible to apply for permanent residency after meeting certain conditions, such as holding the visa for a specified period and meeting business or investment requirements.
- Fantastic business opportunities: The BIIP offers opportunities for individuals to establish or invest in new or existing businesses in Australia. This can provide access to the Australian market, business networks, and potential customers, as well as opportunities for business expansion and growth.
- Access to world-class education and healthcare: As a permanent resident of Australia, BIIP visa holders can access the country’s high-quality education and healthcare systems, including a public healthcare system that provides subsidised or free medical services to residents.
- Great lifestyle and quality of life: Australia enjoys a high standard of living, with a clean environment, beautiful beaches and natural landscapes, unique and diverse wildlife, modern cities, and a safe and stable social and political environment.
- Pathway to citizenship: Permanent residency obtained through the BIIP may also provide a pathway to Australian citizenship, which offers additional benefits such as voting rights and access to social security benefits.
Eligibility criteria for Australia’s residency by investment program
The eligibility criteria for the BIIP streams vary depending on the specific stream and visa subclass. This is a summary of the eligibility criteria for the five streams:
Investor stream: To be eligible, applicants must invest in a business in Australia. To apply, you must:
- Be under 55 years of age, although some exemptions may apply.
- Make an investment of at least AUD 2.5 million in an Australian state or territory government security for a minimum of four years.
- Have a genuine intention to maintain the investment in Australia for the specified period.
- Have a net personal and business assets of at least AUD 2.25 million.
Significant Investor stream: To be eligible, applicants must:
- Make an investment of at least AUD 5 million in complying investments, which may include Australian securities, eligible managed funds, and direct investment in Australian businesses.
- Have a genuine intention to hold the investment for at least four years.
- There is no age requirement or English language requirement for the Significant Investor stream.
Premium Investor stream: to be eligible, you must:
- Be nominated by Austrade.
- Be formally invited to apply for a Premium Investor visa.
- Invest at least AUD 15 million in Australian investments or philanthropic contributions that meet government-defined requirements.
- Demonstrate your desire to hold the investment for the full visa period (note: this does not apply to any philanthropic contribution included in the investment).
Entrepreneur stream: this visa is available to individuals and their families who wish to carry out entrepreneurial activity in Australia. To apply, you must:
- Be nominated for the visa by a State or Territory government agency.
- Produce a detailed business plan.
- Undertake an entrepreneurial activity in Australia that complies with government guidelines.
- Be competent in the English language.
Business Innovation stream: to be eligible for this visa, applicants must be willing to transfer an existing business to Australia. To apply, you must:
- Be nominated by a state or territory government in Australia before being invited to apply.
- Be under 55 (although there are some exemptions).
- Score at least 65 points on the visa application Points Test, which considers factors such as age, English language proficiency, business experience and other relevant factors.
- Have an overall successful business career with a track record owning and managing businesses.
- Demonstrate a business turnover of at least AUD 750,000 in at least two of the last four fiscal years.
- Have net business and personal assets of at least AUD 1,250,000 available for transfer to Australia within two years of the grant of your visa.
Investment options for Australia’s residency by investment program
Australia’s BIIP offers five Golden Visa options for would-be residents: Investor, Significant Investor, Premium Investor, Entrepreneur and Business Innovation. Each option has its own financial and other application requirements, as detailed elsewhere in this article.
Application process to acquire Australian residency by investment
The general application process to acquire an Australian visa via a BIIP stream involves several steps. These will differ according to the particular visa you are applying for, and your personal circumstances. The following general stages will usually be required, however.
Expression of Interest (EOI): Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI), indicating your interest in a specific BIIP stream. You will need to provide information about your business or investment experience, assets, and other relevant details.
Invitation to Apply (ITA): If you receive an ITA based on your EOI, you will be invited to submit a formal visa application within a specified timeframe. The ITA will specify the stream you have been invited to apply to.
Lodge visa application: Submit a complete visa application along with all required documents and evidence to the Department of Home Affairs in Australia. The documents and evidence required may vary depending on the specific BIIP stream you are applying for, but generally may include personal identification, financial documents, business or investment-related documents, health and character clearances, and any other relevant documentation.
Nomination by State or Territory Government (if applicable): If you are applying for a BIIP stream that requires state or territory government nomination, you will need to obtain it from the relevant state or territory government agency prior to lodging your visa application. Nomination requirements vary by state or territory and should be confirmed with the relevant agency.
Visa assessment: Your visa application will be assessed by the Department of Home Affairs in Australia, including a review of your documents, evidence, and meeting the specific eligibility criteria for the BIIP stream you are applying for. Additional information or documents may be requested during the assessment process.
Visa approval: If your visa application is approved, you will receive a visa grant notification. The type of visa granted may be temporary or permanent, depending on the specific BIIP stream you applied for and the requirements met.
Visa conditions: Once you are granted a visa, you must comply with the visa conditions attached to it, such as maintaining your business or investment activities in Australia, complying with health and character requirements, and other relevant conditions specific to the BIIP stream you have been granted a visa under.
Summary of Australia’s residency by investment program
Australia encourages high-net-worth business owners and entrepreneurs to establish or move their businesses to the country, for the benefit of the local economy. The current investment streams are tiered, with the lowest entry point of AUD 2.5 million. In return for their business, investors can enjoy residency in a wealthy and progressive Western country with a healthy economy and some fantastic scenery and cultural gems.