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An Overview of Australia Residence-by-Investment

Visa applicants must meet certain criteria prescribed to the appropriate visa subclass. The criteria prescribed to a visa application will include either ‘at time of lodgment’ requirements, ‘at time of decision’ requirements, or a combination of both. Visa applications may be refused if an applicant does not demonstrate that they meet the criteria at the correct time. All visa subclasses include the requirement to satisfy certain health, character, and public interest criteria. 

Permanent residents are required to spend at least two years of a five-year period in Australia, or demonstrate significant ties to Australia, in order to maintain their residence status. 

The Australian visa application process is very structured and based on laws, regulations, policy, and legislative instruments. The application processing time is nine to twelve months but may differ according to the visa type. The Department of Immigration has a priority processing tier under which visa applications that yield the greatest benefit to the country (skilled visas) will be assessed quicker than those with less benefit (family visas). 

The Business Innovation and Investment Program and the Business Talent Program

There are six visa streams under the Business Innovation and Investment Program and the Business Talent Program.

The Business Innovation and Investment Program includes the following:

  • The Business Innovation Stream — Individuals must pass a points test, have a successful business career with a business turnover of at least AUD 500,000, and net assets of AUD 800,000. They must also obtain and maintain substantial ownership and management of an Australian business.
  • The Investor Stream — Individuals must pass a points test, have three years’ investment experience, commit AUD 1.5 million into an Australian state or territory bond for four years, and have net assets of AUD 2.25 million.
  • The Significant Investor Stream — Individuals must commit at least AUD 5 million into a complying Australian investment for at least four years.
  • The Entrepreneur Stream — Individuals must have signed a formal agreement to receive AUD 200,000 in venture capital funding from an Australian company for the commercialization and/or development of a high-value business idea or product.

The above temporary visas offer a direct pathway to permanent residence after four years, subject to meeting certain residence and investment or business turnover requirements.

The Business Talent Program includes the following:

  • The Business Talent (Significant Business History Stream) — For successful businesspeople who own or part-own a business with a turnover of at least AUD 3 million per year. Individuals must have a successful business career and have net assets of AUD 1.5 million. They must make a substantial contribution to a new or established business in Australia and take an active role in managing the business.
  • The Business Talent (Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream) — Individuals must have sourced AUD 1 million in venture capital funding to fund the start-up or product commercialization of a high-value business idea in Australia and must establish (or participate in) that business.

The above two streams offer direct permanent residence and applicants must quickly become involved in the relevant business.

The Global Talent Independent Program

The Global Talent Independent Program is a streamlined pathway to permanent residence for highly skilled executives, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and professionals. It is designed to help grow Australia’s innovation and tech economies and create opportunities for Australians by transferring skills, promoting innovation, and creating jobs. The Australian Government is seeking the best and brightest global talent in the following seven future-focused sectors:

  • Agricultural technology (agtech)
  • Space and advanced manufacturing
  • Financial technology (fintech)
  • Energy and mining technology
  • Medical technology (medtech)
  • Cyber security
  • Quantum information, advanced digital technology, data science, and information and communications technology (ICT)

Applicants for the Global Talent Independent visa must be internationally recognized, currently prominent in their field, and able to provide evidence of outstanding achievements over their career. They must also provide evidence that they would be an asset to Australia in their area of expertise and have no difficulty obtaining employment in the country or becoming established in their field. Places are also available to master’s and PhD students who can demonstrate their exceptional talent and international recognition across the target sectors.