The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, and the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten MP, recently announced new Federal Government reforms to attract successful investors and entrepreneurs to Australia.
Mr Bowen said the government would introduce a new visa program, the Significant Investor visa, targeting migrants who could make an investment of at least $5 million in the Australian economy.
“The Significant Investor visa will provide a boost to our economy and help Australia to compete effectively for high net worth individuals seeking investment immigration,” Mr Bowen said.
“Our migration program is important to our economy, not only in the area of skills but also innovation and capital investment.
“This new visa will make it easier for investors coming to Australia by offering some concessions on visa requirements – such as not having to meet a points test and reduced residence requirements – in recognition of their meaningful investment contribution.”
Investor options under consideration include state and territory bonds, Australian Security Investment Commission (ASIC) regulated managed funds, and direct investment into Australian companies.
“This creates a new source of investment capital and increases the pool of funds managed locally. This is good for jobs and growth in areas such as financial planning, fund administration, stockbroking, accounting, and funds management,” Mr Shorten said.
The changes will bring Australia into line with other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand, which provide for migration on the basis of investment of a specified size and conditions.
Mr Bowen said the government was also reforming the Business Skills visa program to attract more entrepreneurial talent and diverse business expertise to Australia.
“This is an important part of Australia’s skilled migration program because it targets migrants who have a demonstrated history of innovation and success in business,” he said.
“Such individuals make a strong contribution to the Australian economy, innovation and job opportunities for Australians.
“We are implementing several measures to increase the volume and quality of applicants for this program, which will be renamed the Business Innovation and Investment program.”
The measures include:
- facilitating permanent entry of entrepreneurs who have sourced venture capital funding in Australia
- cutting red tape by reducing the visa subclasses from 13 to three
- introducing a points test for provisional visa applicants giving weight to people with a history of business innovation
- allowing business migrants to extend their provisional visa should they need additional time to establish their business in Australia before applying for permanent residence
- increasing asset thresholds to better align with the Australian business community.
“The government is also considering further changes to the program to attract significant investment to Australia,” Mr Bowen said.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship grants between 7,000 and 7,800 Business Skills visas per year. There have been 7,200 places allocated to the program in 2011-12.
The Significant Investor visa will be introduced in the 2012-13 program year, while the new Business Innovation and Investment visas will be integrated with the skilled migrant selection model, SkillSelect, commencing on 1 July 2012. (www.immi.gov.au)