Australia to create new visas for wealthy foreigners and entrepreneurs

by Ray Clancy on May 28, 2012

in Australia Immigration

Significant Investor Visa created to attract successful investors and entrepreneurs

The Australian government has introduced new reforms to attract successful investors and entrepreneurs to work and live in Australia.

They will see the creation of a new visa programme, the Significant Investor visa, targeting foreigners who could make an investment of at least $5 million in the Australian economy.

‘The Significant Investor visa will provide a boost to our economy and help Australia to compete effectively for high net worth individuals seeking investment immigration,’ said Immigration and Citizenship minister Chris Bowen.

‘Our migration programme is important to our economy, not only in the area of skills but also innovation and capital investment. This new visa will make it easier for investors coming to Australia by offering some concessions on visa requirements such as not having to meet a points test and reduced residence requirements in recognition of their meaningful investment contribution,’ he explained.

Investor options under consideration include state and territory bonds, Australian Security Investment Commission (ASIC) regulated managed funds and direct investment into Australian companies.

‘This creates a new source of investment capital and increases the pool of funds managed locally. This is good for jobs and growth in areas such as financial planning, fund administration, stock broking, accounting and funds management,’ said Bill Shorten, Financial Services minister.

The changes will bring Australia into line with other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand, which provide for migration on the basis of investment of a specified size and conditions.

Bowen said the government was also reforming the Business Skills visa programme to attract more entrepreneurial talent and diverse business expertise to Australia.

‘This is an important part of Australia’s skilled migration programme because it targets migrants who have a demonstrated history of innovation and success in business. Such individuals make a strong contribution to the Australian economy, innovation and job opportunities for Australians,’ Bowen pointed out.

‘We are implementing several measures to increase the volume and quality of applicants for this programme, which will be renamed the Business Innovation and Investment programme,’ he added.

The measures include facilitating permanent entry of entrepreneurs who have sourced venture capital funding in Australia, cutting red tape by reducing the visa subclasses from 13 to three.

And introducing a points test for provisional visa applicants giving weight to people with a history of business innovation.

It will also mean allowing business migrants to extend their provisional visa should they need additional time to establish their business in Australia before applying for permanent residence and increasing asset thresholds to better align with the Australian business community.

‘The government is also considering further changes to the programme to attract significant investment to Australia,’ Bowen also said.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) grants between 7,000 and 7,800 Business Skills visas per year. There have been 7,200 places allocated to the programme in 2011/12.

The Significant Investor visa will be introduced in the 2012/13 programme year, while the new Business Innovation and Investment visas will be integrated with the skilled migrant selection model, SkillSelect, commencing on 01 July 2012.

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