Policy makers in Australia considering criteria for new entrepreneur visa

by Ray Clancy on March 11, 2016

in Jobs in Australia, Money, Business and Finance

The Australian Government is seeking views on its proposed new entrepreneur visa which is being created as part of the country’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA).

NISA includes a range of initiatives to drive prosperity by putting innovation and science at the centre of the Government’s economic narrative. Investment will be made in the key enablers of innovation, including science, research, education and infrastructure.

Under the NISA, the new entrepreneur visa will be established for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and financial backing from a third party.


Under the proposals it will be a provisional visa for individuals who have obtained capital backing from a third party to develop entrepreneurial ideas in Australia and the consultation has been launched to help determine appropriate third parties.

The visa will be established as a new stream within the existing Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) and the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888) and is set to be introduced in November 2016.

The key areas covered by the consultation cover issues as whether the entrepreneur should require nomination from a state or territory government in order to apply for the visa which would make it consistent with the other streams of the Business Innovation and Investment Programme (BIIP).

Views are also sought on whether four years are an appropriate period for the provisional visa to enable the entrepreneur to develop and commercialise their innovative idea in Australia and if an extension of the provisional visa should be permitted for individuals who have not established a successful and innovative venture in the relevant time period, to allow them additional time to do so.

The Government also needs to determine how the success of a venture should be measured to enable the entrepreneur to progress to permanent residency, and if there should be an appropriate form of third party verification that could be used to verify the success of the business venture. For example, a specific level of business turnover, number of Australian employees et cetera.

There are also questions around whether permanent residency should be contingent on the success of the original idea put forward for development or if other successful business ventures in the timeframe should also be considered.

Also yet to be determined is whether there are particular sectors that should be targeted which demonstrate a high level of innovation and provide significant benefit to Australia such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Information Communications Technology (ICT) sectors.

The policy makers also have to determine if there are there particular sectors which should be excluded, such as residential real estate development or residential real estate schemes and what third party backing should be acceptable to ensure a robust process of assessment and investment has taken place.

At the end of the consultation paper they will also have to make a decision over what is the most desirable third party capital investment threshold to balance the attractiveness of the visa to genuine entrepreneurs, while promoting a high general standard of applicants and if there are any specific integrity measures that should be built into the initial visa assessment criteria, ongoing visa conditions, and criteria for permanent residence.