MIGRATION

Business Innovation & Investment Visas

Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne has assisted thousands of business people to successfully obtain Australian permanent residence since the 1980s.  We are familiar with all of the legislative requirements and departmental policies regarding business migration visas under the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP).  Our Google reviews stand testament to our commitment to outstanding client service.

We provide quality and sound migration advice and services appropriate to individual clients’ circumstances and needs.

Our experienced Immigration Lawyers and Registered Migration Agents are able to advise you on the type of evidence that you can prepare to make a well documented application.  We can also inform or discuss with you if there are any issues in your case or point out any other weaknesses that your case may have for you to make an informed decision before proceeding. Rest assured that your information and our discussions will remain strictly confidential.

The following is information and requirements for the current BIIP.  The Minister for Immigraiton, the Hon. Alex Hawke MP has announced changes to the BIIP effective on 1 July 2021. For details of the changes the please click here.

Due to complexity of business migration visas, legal advice and assistance is highly recommended before you make up your mind to apply for a business migration visa.

More information on the BIIP Visas

There are three major visa categories the BIIP, namely,

  • The Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 188) (“the 188 Visa”);
  • The Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 888) (“the 888 Visa”); and
  • The Business Skills Business Talent (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 132) (“the 132 Visa”).
The 188 Visa

The 188 Visa is a provisional visa allowing its holder to carry out business activities or investments in Australia to meet the criteria for the corresponding 888 Visa (permanent visa) within a period of 4 years and 3 months after the grant of the 188 Visa. Major streams within the 188 Visa are 

  • The Business Innovation Stream – the 188A visa;
  • The Investor Stream – the 188B visa;
  • The Significant Investor Stream – the 188C visa;
  • The Premium Investor Stream – the 188D visa; and
  • The Entrepreneur Stream – the 188E visa. 

Each stream has its own visa criteria.  The first three streams are the popular streams. The 188D visa is generally not available for individual applicants, as it requires nomination by Austrade, whilst the 188E visa is very difficult for potential applicants as it requires an applicant to obtain funding of at least $200,000 from an agency or a body established by the Commonwealth or a State/Territory to fund commercialisation of a product/services of an innovative idea in Australia, or development of an enterprise/business of an innovative idea in Australia. 

The 888 Visa

The pathway to permanent residency for the 188 Visa holders is the 888 Visas in the corresponding streams.  Again, each stream has its specific requirements that must be met for a successful application.

The Business Innovation Stream
The 188A visa is for business people intending to operate a new or established business in Australia. To be eligible for this visa the applicant must meet a number of criteria, including being a business owner with a successful business career, having maintained direct management in the business, meeting specified requirements for annual turnover (minimum AU$500,000) and for value of lawfully acquired net assets (AU$800,000) as well as achieving the passmark (currently 65) set for the BIIP Points Test.

The primary applicant must be under 55 years of age at the time of invitation to apply for this visa, unless specially endorsed by the relevant State/Territory for proposed business activities with exceptional economic benefit to the State/Territory.

The 188A visa can be extended once for a 2-year period.  Maximum period for the 188A visa is 6 years.

After successfully obtaining the 188A visa, the applicant must establish a business (either new or through purchasing an existing business) in Australia, operate and manage the business for at least 2 years, meet specific requirements for turnover and net assets in the business and in Australia, and meet residence requirement in order to be eligible to apply for the 888A visa before the 188A visa ends.

The Investor Stream
The 188B visa is for business people with at least 3 years proven experience with a high level of management skill in, and overall a successful record of, managing eligible investments for the purpose of producing a return in the form of income or capital gain, and not for personal use.  Such eligible investments include ownership in a business, cash on deposit, stocks or bonds, real estate, gold or silver bullion.  In addition, the applicant must have maintained direct involvement in managing eligible investments with a net value of at least AU$1.5 million, or in managing a qualifiying business with at least 10% of ownership interest in the business, for at least 1 of 5 fiscal years before the time of invitation to apply for the visa.  Moreover, the applicant must have a net value of at least AU$2.25 million of personal and business assets for the 2 fiscal years before the time of invitation to apply for this visa.

Again, the primary applicant must be under 55 years of age at the time of invitation to apply for this visa, unless specially endorsed by the relevant State/Territory for proposed business activities with exceptional economic benefit to the State/Territory.

The applicant also needs to achieve the passmark (currently 65) set for the BIIP Points Test.

The applicant will be required to make a designated investment of at least AU$1.5 million in the relevant State/Territory government agency. The funds used to make this designated investment must be lawfully acquired, unencumbered and accumulated from eligible investment activities or qualifying business(es) conducted by the applicant (or spouse or togerther with spouse).

After successfully obtaining the 188B visa, the applicant must maintain the designated investment for at least 4 years, carry out additional business and investment activities and meet residence requirement in order to be eligible to apply for the 888B visa before the 188B visa ends.

The 188B visa cannot be extended.

The Significant Investor Stream
The 188C visa is for business people who have lawfully acquired funds or net assets worth of at least AU$5 million which can be used to make a Complying Significant Investment for at least 4 years.

There is no age limit to applicants for the 188C visa.

The AU$5 million Complying Significant Investment must be made in the following proportions:

  • at least AU$500,000 in venture capital and growth private equity funds which invest in start-ups and small private companies.
  • at least AU$1.5 million in approved managed funds. The managed funds must invest in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange
  • a ‘balancing investment’ of at least AU$3 million in managed funds

The 188C visa can be extended twice, each for a 2 year period.  Maximum period for the 188 Visa in this stream is 8 years.

After successfully obtaining the 188C visa, the applicant must hold the Complying Significant Investment for the whole period of the 188C visa and spend the required days in the relevant State/Territory as follows:

 

  If the main applicant for the 188C visa stilling being the main applicant for the 888C visa If changing to the spouse being the main applicant for the 888C visa
Total days for 4 years Minimum 160 Minimum 720
Total days for 6  years Minimum 240 Minimum 1080
Total days for 8 years Minimum 320 Minimum 1440

 

Other common visa criteria for all three streams include: 

  • having no history of involvement in business or investment activities not acceptable in Australia.
  • meeting health requirement.
  • meeting character requirement.
  • having never provided false or misleading information or document to the Australian Immigration in the past 10 years. 

The BIIP Points Test has the following qualification factors for points: 

  • Age
  • English language proficiency
  • Qualifications
  • Experience in business or investment
  • Net personal and business assets (minimum AU$800,000)
  • Business turnover (minimum AU$500,000 p.a.)
  • Innovation
  • Special endorsement by nominating State/Territory
The 132 Visa

The 132 Visa has two streams, the Significant Business History Stream (the 132A visa) and the Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream (the 132B visa).  Of these two streams, the 132A visa is the popular stream. 

To be eligible for this visa the primary applicant must meet a number of criteria, including being a business owner with a successfully business career, having maintained direct management in the business, meeting specified requirements regarding net value of assets in the business (minimum AU$400,000), annual turnover (minimum AU$3 million) and net value of lawfully acquired business and personal assets (minimum AU$1.5 million). 

There is an age limit of 55 years of age at the time of invitation to apply for the visa, unless specially endorsed by the relevant State/Territory for proposed business activities with exceptional economic benefit to the State/Territory. 

In addition to these visa criteria, each State/Territory also requires minimum capital investments ranging from AU$1 million (South Australia, Western Australia), AU$1.5 million (Queensland), AU$2 million (Victoria, Canberra) to AU$3 million (New South Wales).  Further, exceptional economic benefit is required for primary applicant who is over 55 years of age at the time of invitation to apply for the visa. 

The Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream is a stream rarely applied so far.  It requires applicants to obtain funding of at least AU$1 million from an Australian Venture Capital Fund for the early-phrase start-up of a business, the commercialisation of a product, the development of a business, or the expansion of a business in Australia.

Changes to the BIIP from 1 July 2021 onwards

The Minister for Immigration, the Hon. Alex Hawke MP, announced on 17 December 2020 and 19 May 2021 the following changes to the BIIP:

  • There will be four (4) streams only: Businesss Innovation, Entrepreneur, Investor and Significant Investor.  The Premium Investor stream of the 188 visa and the 132 visa (including both Singificnat Business History and Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream) will be closed to new applications.
  • The 188 vsia holders in all 4 streams will be able to apply for permanent residence if they meet the requirements after 3 years. The 188 visa will be valid for 5 years.
  • The requirements for the 188A visa will be required to hold business assets of AUD1.25 million (up from $800,000) and have an annual turnover of AUD750,000 (up from $500,000).
  • The $200,000 funding threshold required for the 188E visa will be scrapped. Applicants will need to be endorsed by a State or Terriory government.
  • The investment amount for the 188B visa will increase from AUD1.5 million to AUD2.5 million.
  • For the Complying Investment Framework (CIF), from 1 July 2021, the following CIF ratio will apply to both the Investor and Significant Investor Streams:
    • (a) 20% Venture Capital and Private Equity funds (VCPE)
    • (b) 30% funds investing in emerging companies
    • (c) 50% in balancing investments.

In addition, funds will be required to provide annual independent audit reports showing their compliance with the CIF.  The use of Fund of Funds, debentures and derivatives will be calrfiied in the CIF.

If you are interested in applying for a business migration visa, please contact us to set up an initial consultation for a preliminary assessment of your eligibility. 

OUR MIGRATION TEAM

Ryan Curtis-Griffiths

David Stratton

Helen Zheng

Chloe Wang

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