WHAT IS THE AUSTRALIA SIGNIFICANT INVESTOR VISA 188C?
The Australia Significant Investor Visa (SIV) is a residency-by-investment program that requires a financial commitment of at least AUD 5,000,000 that may be invested in a wide range of acceptable investments. It is currently processed between 12-24 months and may lead to Australian citizenship after 5 years.
- Ability to work, live or study in Australia
- Safe living environment and one of the highest standard of living in the world
- High standard education and healthcare system
- Ability to bring eligible dependents:
- Spouse or de facto partner
- Dependent children under 18
- Dependent children between 18-23 years old
- No English language proficiency required
- No points test to satisfy
- No upper age limits
- Ability to extend provisional visa once for up to 4 years, giving a maximum of 9-year provisional visa
- Pathway to Citizenship
- Provisional visa > Permanent visa > Citizenship
- Make a complying significant investment in the following proportions and have a genuine intention to hold that investment for the duration of the visa:
- At least AUD 1 million in venture capital and growth private equity funds which invest in start-ups and small private companies
- At least AUD 1.5 million in approved managed funds investing in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange
- A ‘balancing investment’ of at least AUD 2.5 million in managed funds that may invest in a range of assets
- If the investment is withdrawn, it must be re-invested into another complying investment within 30 calendar days
- Investments of AUD 5 million must be made into complying investments for the duration of the visa (up to 5 years)
- The applicant must prove that the assets or funds used for the complying investment have been lawfully acquired
- Must meet Australian health and character requirements
- Physical residence for an average of 40 days/year for primary visa holders or 180 days per/year for secondary visa holders before applying for the permanent visa
- Have a genuine and realistic commitment to live in the nominating State or Territory and continue business and investment in Australia
- Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) via “Skill Select” online service to be nominated by a State or Territory Government, or Austrade
- Upon receiving a nomination from a State or Territory government and an invitation to apply, submission of an online visa application within 60 calendar days
- Upon receiving the approval-in-principal of the visa application, the investor will be advised when to make the complying investment
- Upon making the complying investment, the temporary visa will be issued
- The visa has a duration of up to 5 years (and can be extended up to 9 years) with a minimum requirement for physical residency in Australia
WHO MAY APPLY FOR THE SIGNIFICANT INVESTOR VISA (SIV) ALSO KNOWN AS THE 188C?
For investors who:
- Are willing to make a complying significant investment of at least AUD 5 million in an Australian state or territory for up to 5 years.
- Receive nomination from an Australian State or Territory government agency or Austrade and reside in the state that nominated you
- Have a genuine and realistic commitment to continue business and investment activity in Australia
WHO MAY BE INCLUDED IN THE APPLICATION?
- The Applicant can include their spouse and dependent children to the application.
- Dependent children are defined as the Applicant’s child, or their partner’s child, who is not engaged, married or in a de facto relationship and is:
- aged under 18 years, or
- aged 18 to 23 years and dependent on the Applicant or the Applicant’s partner, or
- aged 23 years or older and dependent on the Applicant or the Applicant’s partner due to a partial or total physical or mental disability.
HOW LONG IS THE PROVISIONAL SIV VALID?
- The visa is valid for up to five years from the date it is granted.
HOW DO YOU APPLY?
Applications must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and be nominated by a State, Territory Government, or Austrade. After submission of EOI and nomination from a State or Territory government, the Applicant will have 60 days to lodge the visa application through and then if the application is accepted the Applicant will be advised when to make the complying investment after which the visa will be issued
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SUBCLASS 188 AND THE SUBCLASS 888?
The Business Innovation and Investment Visa is a 2-stage process to obtain residency. The visa holder will first need to obtain a provisional visa (subclass 188) (i.e. a temporary residence visa) up to 5 years. After complying with the necessary business and/or investment requirements, the visa holder may apply for a permanent residence visa (subclass 888).
ARE THERE ARE ANY OTHER REQUIREMENTS?
- The Applicant and his accompanying family members must be in good health.
- The Applicant and family need to provide police certificates from each country they have lived in for 12 months or more over the past 10 years after they turned 16 years of age. All family members are required to provide this even if they are not migrating.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ATTRACTIVE REQUIREMENTS?
- No English requirement –The Applicant and family members can pay an additional fee to meet this requirement.
- No point test requirement.
- No age limit.
WHAT IS A COMPLYING SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT?
To be a Complying Significant Investment, the following proportions are required:
- At least AUD 1 million in venture capital and growth private equity funds which invest in start-ups and small private companies;
- At least AUD 1.5 million in approved managed funds investing in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange;
- A ‘balancing investment’ of at least AUD 2.5 million in managed funds that may invest in a range of assets, including ASX-listed companies, Australian corporate bonds or notes, annuities, and commercial real estate.
NB: Direct investment in residential real estate continues to be prohibited and indirect investment in residential property through managed funds is now strictly limited. Investments must not be used as security or collateral for a loan.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE VALUE OF THE COMPLYING SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT FALLS BELOW AUD 5 MILLION?
The value of the complying significant investment must be at least AUD 5 million at the time the authority decide whether or not to grant the visa. Once granted, it does not matter if the complying investment falls below AUD 5 million.
If the Applicant withdraws his complying significant investment while holding the visa, he will need to reinvest it into another complying significant investment within 30 calendar days. If not, it will be considered as a breach of visa condition and the visa may be cancelled.
ARE THERE ANY RESIDENCE REQUIREMENT FOR SUBCLASS 188C VISA HOLDERS?
Yes. The applicant must have been living in Australia for at least 40 days per year for the 4-year period or have their spouse/de facto partner live in Australia for at least 180 days/year for the duration of the visa. The days do not need to be consecutive.
CAN THE SPOUSE OF THE APPLICANT MEET THE RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT IF THE APPLICANT CANNOT MEET IT?
Yes. The applicant’s spouse or de facto partner can meet the residency requirement for the family. The spouse would need to reside in Australia for at least 180 days per year. If this is the case, the main applicant would not need to meet the minimum residency requirement.
WHAT IF NEITHER PARTY CAN MEET THE RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT IN THE 4-YEAR PERIOD?
The Applicant can apply for the SIV extension and extend the provisional visa for a further 2 years to allow them to meet the residency requirement.
WHAT IS THE PROCESSING TIME?
Approximately 12-24 months
ARE THE APPLICANT AND HIS FAMILY ABLE TO WORK OR STUDY IN AUSTRALIA AS A PROVISIONAL SIV HOLDER?
Yes, there is no limitation with regards to the right to undertake work or study for the Applicant and his family.
WHAT IS THE GENERAL RESIDENCE REQUIREMENT TO BECOME AN AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN?
The general residence requirement is based on the amount of time the applicant has lived in Australia. He must meet all of the following:
- has lived in Australia on a valid Australian visa for four years immediately before applying;
- must have been a permanent resident for the 12 months immediately before making an application and not have been absent from Australia for more than one year in total, during the four-year period, including no more than 90 days in the 12 months before applying.
Read also about the New Zeland investor visa
The present document is intended for guidance and general information only and does not constitute or purport to provide you with legal advice. Such information is subject to changes without notice. Each case is unique and depends on the facts and circumstances of the individual and due consideration should be taken if applying the general information to your personal situation. For an evaluation of your personal circumstances one of our legal team would be happy to assist.