Chinese applicants dominate Australian investor visa programme

by Ray Clancy on February 5, 2014

in Australia, Australia Immigration, General Information

The vast majority of people applying for significant investor visas to enable them to invest in Australia are from China, it has emerged.

Some 90% of applicants for the significant investor scheme, which was launched just over a year ago, are wealthy individuals from mainland China. It is estimated that so far they have invested $325 million into their new country of residence.

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Australia is the second most popular place for investors from China after Hong Kong .

Figures from the Department of Immigration and Border Control (AIBP) show that 65 significant investor visas have been granted to Chinese people from the mainland and 90% of the 545 applicants for the permits were Chinese nationals.

‘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,’ said a DIBP spokesman.

According to Paul Bernadou, a Hong Kong based migration lawyer, Australia is the second most popular place after Hong Kong for wealthy mainland Chinese.

The Australian government launched the scheme in November 2012 with the aim of attracting hundreds of new and rich residents. There are no language requirements or upper age limit but investors must spend a minimum of 160 days in Australia over four years, a lower requirement than other visa holders.

Investors can put their money in state or territory government bonds, directly into private Australian companies not listed on the Australian stock exchange by way of obtaining an ownership interest and must be nominated by a state or territory government agency.

The first successful applicant in May last year was a 36 year old toy manufacturer with a young family, who invested in Victoria state government bonds.

Most visa applicants are self-made millionaires with interests in manufacturing or property. They are also attracted by Australia’s education system, economy, environment and multicultural outlook.

Most applicants are seeking to move to Sydney and Melbourne and invest in government bonds until they find something with higher returns. They do not actually have to start a business, just invest in the country.

John McGrath, chief executive of Sydney based McGrath Estate Agents, said his firm has seen an increase in Chinese buyers in both Sydney and Melbourne and property prices are rising as a result.

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