Business Innovation & Investment Visas

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 188)

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 188)

This visa is for business owners and investors with a successful overseas track record who are willing to invest into new or existing business in Australia or make a designated investment in an Australian state or territory government bond. The Business Innovation and Investment Visa is a provisional visa valid for four years and provides a pathway to permanent residency through Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) (subclass 888) Visa.

This visa allows you to:

  • Establish a new or develop an existing business and/or invest in Australia, make a designated investment with an Australian state or territory government or make and maintain complying investments in Australia.
  • Travel in and out of Australia with your visa.
  • Bring family members with you to Australia.
  • Seek permanent residence by applying for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa (subclass 888) .

This visa has 3 streams:

  1. Business Innovation Stream – For people with business skills who want to establish, develop and manage a new or existing business in Australia.
  2. Investor Stream – For people who want to make a designated investment of at least AUD1.5 million in an Australian state or territory and maintain business and investment activity in Australia.
  3. Significant Investor Stream – For people who are willing to invest at least AUD5 million into complying investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia.

To be eligible for the Business Innovation and Investor stream you will be assessed against a points test and are required to meet at least 65 points. The Significant Investor Stream is not points tested.

Business Innovation Stream

  • You must be under 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed business will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory;
  • Score at least 65 on the Points Test ;
  • For two out of the four fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply, have had an ownership interest in an established business or businesses that had at least AUD500 000 turnover in each of those years;
  • Own at least one of the following percentages of your nominated main business:
    • 51 per cent, if the business has a turnover of less than AUD400 000 per year.
    • 30 per cent, if the business has a turnover of AUD400 000 or more per year.
    • 10 per cent, if the business is a publicly listed company.
  • Have an overall successful business career;
  • Have a genuine desire to continuously own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia;
  • You, your partner, or you and your partner combined must have total net assets of at least AUD800 000 that are lawfully acquired and available for legal transfer to Australia within two years of the visa being granted;
  • You and your partner must have had no involvement in unacceptable business or investment activities.

Investor Stream

  • You must be under 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed investment will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory;
  • Score at least 65 on the Points Test ;
  • Have a high level of management skills in relation to the eligible investment or qualifying business activity;
  • Have at least three years’ experience of direct involvement in managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments;
  • Have an overall successful record of eligible investment or qualifying business activity;
  • Have a genuine and realistic commitment to continuing your business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.
  • Have a genuine intention to live for at least two years in the state or territory in which you have made a designated investment;
  • You, your partner, or you and your partner combined must for at least one of the five fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply, have directly managed one of the following:
    • An interest owned by you, your partner or you and your partner combined of at least 10 per cent in a qualifying business.
    • At least AUD1.5 million in eligible investment owned by you, your partner or you and your partner combined.
  • During the two fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply, have legally acquired net business, investment and personal assets of at least AUD2.25 million that are available for legal transfer to Australia within two years of the visa being granted;
  • Make a designated investment of at least AUD1.5 million in a state or territory government security using unencumbered funds accumulated from qualifying businesses or eligible investments and be prepared to hold that investment for at least four years from date of issue in your nominating state or territory;
  • Have had no involvement in unacceptable activities.

Significant Investor Stream

  • Commonwealth, state or territory government bonds;
  • Eligible managed funds – that are limited to investing in any or all of the following Australian assets:
    • Infrastructure projects in Australia.
    • Cash held by Australian deposit-taking institutions.
    • Bonds issued by the Australian Government or a State or Territory government.
    • Bonds, equity, hybrids or other corporate debt in Australian companies and trusts listed on any Australian stock exchange.
    • Bonds or term deposits issued by Australian financial institutions.
    • Real property in Australia.
    • Australian agribusiness.
    • Annuities issued by an Australian registered life company.
    • Loans secured by mortgages over the investments listed above.
    • Derivatives used for portfolio management and non-speculative purposes (which constitute no more than 20 per cent of the total value of the managed fund).
    • Other managed funds that invest in the investments listed above.
  • Direct investment into private Australian companies – in which you have an ownership interest. The company must operate a qualifying business.

Income that you earn from your complying investment in Australia is subject to tax under Australian taxation law.

You must also have a genuine and realistic commitment to:

  • Reside in the state or territory whose government agency nominated you;
  • Continue your business and investment activity in Australia after your complying investment matures;
  • Live in Australia for at least 160 days over four years while holding your provisional visa;
  • You, your partner, or you and your partner combined must have net assets of at least AUD5 million that are legally acquired, unencumbered, and available to be used to make the complying investment in Australia;
  • You and your partner must not have been involved in unacceptable business or investment activities.

Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 888)

The Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa (subclass 888) is the second stage of the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (subclass 188). You can apply for it after you have fulfilled the requirements of your provisional visa.

This visa will allow you to:

  • Continue to own and manage a business in Australia (the Business Innovation stream).
  • Continue business and investment activity in Australia (the Investor stream and the Significant Investor stream).

Business Innovation Stream

Under the Business Innovation stream, you must have been in Australia and held the following for at least one year in the two years immediately before you apply:

  • A Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (subclass 188) in the Business Innovation stream or the Business Innovation Extension stream;
  • A Special Category Visa (subclass 444);
  • A Business (Long Stay) Visa (subclass 457IE).

In addition, you must be able to show ongoing business involvement, meet certain financial requirements, and have a history of employing Australian workers.

Ongoing Business Involvement

You must be able to show that you (or you and your partner together) have:

  • Had an ownership interest (and continue to have an ownership interest) and a direct and continuous management role in an actively operating main business (or main businesses) in Australia for the two years immediately before you apply;
  • Had an annual turnover of at least AUD300 000 from the main business (or businesses) in the 12 months before you apply. (A nominating state or territory might agree to waive the requirement to show an annual turnover of AUD300 000 if you live and operate business in a specified regional area of Australia);
  • Owned at least one of the following percentages of the main business (or main businesses) in Australia in the year immediately before you apply:
    • 51 per cent of a business with a turnover of less than AUD400 000 per year.
    • 30 per cent of a business with a turnover of AUD400 000 or more per year.
    • 10 per cent of a publicly listed company.
  • Obtained an Australian Business Number for each of your main businesses;
  • Submitted Business Activity Statements to the Australian Taxation Office for the two years immediately before you apply;
  • Not acquired the ownership in your main business (or two main businesses) from a person who was an applicant for, or a holder of, a permanent Business Innovation and Investment Visa (subclass 888) or a permanent business skills visa (in subclasses 890, 891, 892 or 893), unless you and that person had a joint interest in the main business for at least one year before you lodged your application for this visa.

You (or your partner, or you and your partner together) must also demonstrate that you have achieved at least two of the following requirements:

  • A net value of business assets of at least AUD200 000 in your nominated main business (or two main businesses) in Australia throughout the year immediately before you apply;
  • a net value of personal and business assets of at least AUD600 000 in Australia throughout the year immediately before you apply;
  • employed at least the equivalent of two full-time employees in your main business (or main businesses), throughout the year immediately before you apply who are:
    • Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, or holders of valid New Zealand passports
    • Not your family members.

Investor Stream

Under the Investor stream, you must have been in Australia and held your provisional visa for at least two of the four years immediately before you apply. In addition, you (or you and your partner combined) must have held a designated investment with an Australian state or territory for at least four years.

Significant Investor Stream

If you are seeking to satisfy the permanent visa (subclass 888) in the Significant Investor stream, you must have held at the time of application:

  • A provisional visa (subclass 188) in the Significant Investor stream or in the Significant Investor Extension stream.

You must have been in Australia as the holder of a provisional visa (subclass 188):

  • In the Significant Investor stream—160 days in the past four years;
  • In the Significant Investor Extension stream (one extension) —240 days in the past six years;
  • In the Significant Investor Extension stream (two extensions) —320 days in the past eight years.

In addition, you (or you and your partner combined) must have:

  • Held the complying investments continuously for at least 4 years while holding your Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (subclass 188);
  • Operated a qualifying business under the private Australian company in which you have made a direct complying investment if applicable.

This Is Australia provides a range of professional services to our clients. For a personalised, yet professional service, contact our migration agents via our online contact form or call our Queensland office on (07) 5592 0755.