Review of significant investor visa in Australia announced

by Ray Clancy on March 12, 2014

in Australia, Australia Immigration, General Information

The Australian government has announced an internal review aimed at rebooting the significant investor visa (SIV) programme.

According to assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, there have been ‘significant implementation issues’ with the visa programme. She said this had led to the progress of the programme being held up.

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The number of short term visitors to Australia has increased by 8.7% from last year

‘We want to get this review underway to send a clear message that Australia is open for business on this visa. This review will further assist the programme to attract international investment to Australia in the competitive global market,’ added Cash.

The review is to be undertaken by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and officials will look at all options to enhance the significant investor visa programme. The internal review will be conducted in close consultation with the financial services industry and stakeholders.

‘There will be particular emphasis on examining ways of enhancing greater flexibility and investment choices to significant investor visa applicants, as well as faster processing of applications for this visa. The review will also examine the possibility of introducing a new permanent visa stream for investment migrants,’ Cash explained.

She pointed out that since it was launched in November 2012, until September 2013 when the election was held, just 28 visa applications were approved with $140 million in complying investments.

‘Since the coalition government came to office, more than 116 significant investor visa applications have been approved with more than $580 million in complying investments.  In January this year, more than $165 million in complying investments came through the programme compared with Labour’s monthly peak of $30 million in July last year,’ she added.

The significant investor visa programme is designed to facilitate migration of investment migrants who are willing to invest a minimum of $5 million in a complying investment in Australia over at least a four year period.

Terms of reference for the review broadly cover the policy settings of the significant investor visa, application processing arrangements, and international promotion of the programme.

Meanwhile, the latest data shows there was a record number of overseas visitors to Australia in January with Asians leading the way, according to the figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS.)

The increase in short term visitors to Australia over the past year has continued, up 8.7% from last year, and there were 560,000 short term visitor arrivals to Australia’s shores in January 2014, making it the highest January on record.

‘The largest growth in short term visitor arrivals over the past year was from Asia. Arrivals from Malaysia were up by 40% and from Hong Kong and Singapore by 26% each,’ said Denise Carlton from the ABS.

January also saw increased arrivals from traditional markets including the UK up 8.2%, Germany up 10.6%, and Italy up 15%.

In 2013, the ABS completed a rebuild of the overseas arrivals and departures system and today’s results are the first from this new methodology. All overseas arrivals and departures data has been revised back to July 2004 based on the improved methodology.

Short term visitor arrivals are overseas visitors who intend to stay in Australia for less than 12 months.

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