Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said the changes would help the government make the most of foreign investment. He believes the revamped programme will play an important role in rebuilding the economy after the pandemic.
Trying to reduce the flow of new applicants is another reason for the changes. Australia allocates about 7,000 visa quotas annually to business people and investors. But that’s not enough to meet demand for the program: in 2019, the application queue grew to 20,000 people.
Tougher requirements will screen out those investors who don’t plan to do business in Australia in the long term. This will help the government shorten the visa waiting list and attract more investment.
How the conditions of the programme will change
In 2020, the programme department is issuing nine different visas for businessmen and investors. They come in indefinite and temporary versions. With any of these, an investor can enter, live and do business in Australia.
The government will reduce the number of visa flows in 2021. The minimum amount of assets and annual turnover of a company will also change. New visa holders will be able to obtain a permanent residence permit through a single transparent procedure.
Four visa streams will remain in the programme instead of nine: Business Innovation, Entrepreneur, Investor and Significant Investor. The visa streams differ in the conditions an investor fulfils to participate in the programme. It also depends on the stream whether the duration of the visa will be limited or not.
Applications for the Premium Investor, Significant Business History and Venture Entrepreneur streams will be accepted until 1 July 2021. The Department will consider all applications that are submitted before that date.
The minimum amount of assets and an annual turnover of a company will increase for applicants in the Business Innovation stream. Entrepreneur stream participants now need to obtain funding from sources in Australia. The new rules remove this requirement. Whether the conditions for the Investor and Significant Investor streams will change remains to be seen.
Conditions for an investor visa to Australia
|Visa flow and condition|| Amount |
| Amount |
| Business innovation: |
the value of assets
| 800,000 Australian dollars, |
or about $600,000
| 1.25 million Australian dollars, |
or about $950,000
| Business innovation: |
annual company turnover
| 500,000 Australian dollars, |
or about $380,000
| 750,000 Australian dollars, |
or about $570,000
| Entrepreneur: |
| 200,000 Australian dollars, |
or about $152,000
Temporary visas will be issued for 5 years. Participants in the Business Innovation and Significant Investor streams will be able to extend their visas by 2 years if they have not met the requirements for a permanent residence permit. For example, if in 5 years the business has not reached the level of annual turnover set by the conditions of the programme.
You can apply for permanent residency in Australia after 3 years if the investor has met all the conditions of the program.
The number of quotas for 2021 will double. The department plans to issue 13,500 visas, but even that number may not be enough for all applicants. In 2020, the investors completely dispersed the quotas within a couple of months after they started accepting applications.
Approval from the Australian state or territory remains a key condition. The investor receives confirmation that their business project will benefit the region. Preference is given to the manufacture of medical products and medicines, companies with high levels of investment and businesses that create new jobs.
The Australian Government has not yet finalised the changes. The government will announce all the changes in early 2021 so that business people and investors have time to prepare to apply.
Where else are residence permits and citizenship granted for business investment
Several countries in Europe and the Caribbean grant residence permits or citizenship for investment in a business. A foreigner can start a new company, invest in a local business or an approved project.
The Portuguese residence permit programme is suitable for investors who are willing to open a company in the country and employ at least 10 Portuguese people. Another option is to invest from €350,000 in an existing company in order to keep or create 5 jobs. The Programme Department also accepts applications from investors who have transferred €350,000 or more to a Portuguese venture capital fund.
You can get a residence permit in the UK if you invest £2 million or more in British companies.
A residence permit in Greece is granted for the purchase of shares in local companies or units in investment funds. The minimum investment amount is €400,000.
Antigua and Barbuda citizenship is obtained by an investor investing at least $1.5 million in a local company. If more than one investor wants to participate in the programme, they must invest a total of $5 million or more in the business. Each investor has a minimum share of $400,000.
Saint Lucia grants citizenship for investment in business projects that are approved by the government. The applicant invests $3.5 million or more and creates 3 jobs.
Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of European and Caribbean programmes. If you want to start a business abroad and obtain a second passport or a residence permit – contact the investment programmes’ experts for advice.