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The Easy Guide to Australian Business Visas

Australian Business Visas can seem extremely complicated to anyone attempting to gain even just a framework of understanding of how it all works. Yes, it does take a little bit of time to wrap your head around and in all honesty, you would be totally forgiven for shying away due to the complexity of the task.

 

At Sanji Caldera Associates, we have decided that it’s time somebody makes an honest attempt at resolving some of the confusion around Australian Business Visas and at-least attempt to provide a somewhat easy-to-understand guide to clear things up.  We have taken up the challenge and this (hopefully) easy-to-understand guide has been developed as a result.

 

Acquiring a good understanding of Australian Business visa frameworks is great! But the real challenge comes when trying to select the best visa that will help you (or your clients) meet all your business migration needs and goals. Trust us… You DO NOT want to make that decision without knowing at-least the bare essentials and NEITHER do you want to place your complete trust on an opinion by a migration expert, without knowing the actual implications that your choice has on yourself, your business and your business migration goals. We have come across business migration cases where things went south very quickly, in more ways than we imagined possible!

 

To make it clear, we are not having a crack at migration experts or their ability/capabilities to provide solid and valuable advise. In fact, in nearly all troubled business visa cases involving a migration expert or experts, we can say that in all honesty, the advise was given in good faith and with substantial ethical reasoning. However, there seems to be a huge discrepancy on where focus takes place and we think that this is where it all goes wrong. The business owner is focused on what is good for the business and Migration Expert is focused on what is good for the application. The solution is to recognize and be proactive about this impending issue and put both minds together to try and figure out what is best for both worlds! We hope this guide can get that conversation started…

 

Bon Voyage!

-Sanji Caldera Associates

 

Australian Business Visas

An Australian business visa is for people wanting to start a business or invest in Australia. Visas within this category are designed to attract applicants to Australia who have the skills to enhance and uplift the Australian economy by way of commercial venture or investment. The visa of choice and the most widely-utilized application process by international businesspeople when migrating is the two-stage system; Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa – Subclass 188 (Stage 1) and Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa – Subclass 888 (Stage 2).

 

Business Innovation and Investment Visas

The entirety of the Australian business migration process will be undertaken in 2 separate stages. Once the Subclass 188 (1st stage) visa application has been assessed, processed and finalized by an Australian visa case officer, who by then, will have confirmed that all mandatory conditions, criteria, legislation, and regulations for the Subclass 188 visa have been met, they will provide a recommendation to an authorized delegate of the Australian Minister of Immigration to grant the applicant a “Provisional Residency” visa.

Provisional Residency Visa: In brief, a provisional residency visa is a temporary visa which has been designed to lead into a permanent residency visa (Subclass 888), once the applicant has met the pre-determined visa obligations (See business visa streams below) as a part of their 1st stage visa grant (Subclass 188).

At a minimum, the applicant will only be eligible to apply for the Subclass 888 (2nd and final stage) of the business migration process; 2 years after the grant of the Subclass 188 (1st stage) visa – this is a common criterion across all streams. At this stage, the Australian visa case officer will be looking to validate and confirm that the applicant has abided by and met all mandatory visa obligations and conditions as stipulated in the grant of the provisional visa (Subclass 188). Once the Subclass 888 visa has been processed and granted, the applicant will be an Australian Permanent Resident and will, later on, be eligible to apply for Australian Citizenship.

Please keep reading below for a detailed break-down of the Subclass 188 and Subclass 888 visas.

 

Stage 1: Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa – Subclass 188

What this visa allows you to do:

  • Establish a new or develop an existing business.
  • Invest in Australian State or Territory Government.
  • Make complying investments in Australia.
  • Participate in an Entrepreneurial activity in Australia.
  • Travel in and out of Australia for the life of your visa.
  • Bring members of your family.
  • Visa valid for 4 years & 3 months.
  • Seek permanent residence by applying for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa – Subclass 888.
Stage 2: Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa – Subclass 888

What this visa allows you to do:

  • Stay in Australia indefinitely.
  • Work and study in Australia.
  • Make complying investments in Australia.
  • Enroll in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care & expenses.
  • Apply for Australian citizenship (if you are eligible).
  • Bring members of your family.
  • Sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence.
  • Travel to and from Australia.

 

Popular Business Visa Streams

Subclass 188 and 888 visas each have 5 adjacent streams (including 2 sub-streams in the 188 visa) that are by design, bridging pathways to one another. Each stream has been designed to accommodate a multitude of businesspeople and investors, ranging from small to large enterprises. Essentially, the streams are broken down into two separate categories; the Business Innovation Stream and the Business Investment stream. The streams listed below are two (out of five) of the most popular streams that are utilized by businessmen and entrepreneurs.

 

Business Visa A – Innovation Stream

Stage 1 (Subclass 188) Criteria:

This visa is for people with business skills who want to establish, develop and manage a new or existing business in Australia.

Eligibility:

  • Under 55 years of age (Exceptions apply).
  • Functional English (IELTS 4.5 in each band: Reading, Writing, Listening & Speaking).
  • Ownership of a business with a turnover of equivalent to AUD $500,000.
  • Assets of AUD $800,000 (Main applicant only or combined with partner).
  • Own at least one of the following percentages of your nominated business.
  • 51% if the business has a turnover of less than AUD $400,000 per year.
  • 30% if the business has a turnover of more than AUD $400,000 per year.
  • 10% if the business is a publicly listed company (PLC).
  • Must be approved by a state government.

 

Stage 2 (Subclass 888) Criteria:

This is a permanent residency visa that will allow you to continue owning and managing a business in Australia.

Eligibility:

  • Must hold a subclass 188 visa in the relevant stream (Business Innovation).
  • Eligible to apply after 2 years of holding a Subclass 188 visa.
  • You must be in Australia for at least 1 year out of the 2 years immediately after you apply. (Additional conditions may be imposed by the state government)
  • Must be approved by a state government.
  • You must be able to show ongoing business involvement.

Ongoing Business Involvement Criteria:

  • Have had an ownership interest and will have continuous ownership interest along with a direct and continuous role in an actively operating business for two years prior to applying.
  • Annual turnover of at least AUD $300,000 in the last 12 months immediately prior to applying.
  • You (or your partner, or you and your spouse together) must demonstrate that you have achieved at least 2 out of the 3 following criteria:
  • AUD $200,000 net business assets
  • AUD $600,000 in total assets (including business assets)
  • Employed two full-time employees who are Australian residents. (Cannot be members of your family)

 

Business Visa B – Investor Stream

Stage 1 (Subclass 188) Criteria:

This visa is for people who are willing to make a designated investment of at least AUD $1.5 million in an Australian state or territory.

Eligibility:

  • Must be under the age of 55 years (exceptions apply).
  • Functional English (IELTS 4.5 in each band: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking).
  • Have at least 3 years of experience or direct involvement in managing a business or investment.
  • 10% Ownership interest in a business or AUD $1.5 million in investments for 1 year within the last 5 fiscal years.
  • Have acquired Business, Investments and Personal assets of at least AUD 2.25 million (net) during the last 2 fiscal years. This must be available for legal transfer to Australia within 2 years after your visa has been granted.
  • Must make a designated investment of at least AUD $1.5 million in a state or territory government and be prepared to hold that investment for at least 4 years.
  • Must be approved by a state government.

 

Stage 2 (Subclass 888) Criteria:

This is a permanent residency visa that will allow you to continue business and investment activity in Australia.

Eligibility:

  • Must hold a subclass 188 visa in the relevant stream (Investor Stream).
  • Must have held a designated investment for at least 4 years.
  • Must have lived in Australia for at least 2 years out of the 4 years.
  • Only eligible to apply after 4 years of holding subclass 188 visa.
  • Must be approved by a state government.

For any inquiries, please contact:

Keith Hepponstall – Director (Business Development)

Mob: (+614) 20 949 195

E-mail: keith@sanjicaldera.com

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