The Morrison Government is reforming business and investor visas to maximise the economic benefits for Australia.
The Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) will be simplified from nine to four streams and there will be changes to eligibility requirements.
Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said the changes would drive investment in key sectors and create Australian jobs.
“Almost $1.3 billion dollars was invested through the Business Innovation and Investment Program last year, investment that is critical to our COVID-19 economic recovery,” Mr Tudge said.
“These changes will maximise the economic contribution of these high value investors to get the best possible outcome for Australians.
“Our Migration Program for 2020-21 is clearly focussed on job creators, those with key skills and migrants who are going to invest in Australia’s future.”
The number of places available in the BIIP has almost doubled from 6862 in 2019-20 to 13,500 places for 2020-2021.
The changes align with feedback received from stakeholders as part of the Department of Home Affairs review into the BIIP that concluded in February 2020.
Key changes: (in effect from 1 July 2021)
- The program will be simplified from nine to four visa streams: Business Innovation, Entrepreneur, Investor, and Significant Investor. There will be a clear pathway to permanent residency for each category.
- The Premium Investor, Significant Business History and Venture Capital Entrepreneur visas will be closed to new applications from 1 July 2021. Applications already lodged for these visas will still be processed.
- Provisional visa holders in all four streams will be able to apply for permanent residence if they meet the requirements after three years, but the provisional visa will now be valid for five years, meaning they have additional time to meet the requirements.
- Business Innovation and Significant Investor visa holders will also continue to be able to extend their provisional visas if they do not meet the business and residence thresholds in the required timeframe.
- Business Innovation provisional visa holders can apply for a two-year extension provided they demonstrate a realistic commitment to continuing to manage a business that has been actively operating in Australia for the previous two years.
- Significant Investor provisional visa holders can apply for two, two-year extensions provided they continue to maintain their complying significant investment.
- The requirements for Business Innovation visa holders will be increased to ensure the program is attracting migrants with proven business skills. Business Innovation visa holders will be required to hold business assets of $1.25 million (up from $800,000) and have an annual turnover of $750,000 (up from $500,000) to prove their business acumen. These settings have not changed since 2012 when the program was first introduced.
- The $200,000 funding threshold required for Entrepreneur visa applicants will be scrapped. Applicants will need to be endorsed by a State or Territory government. This follows the successful Supporting Innovation in South Australia pilot program and will give states and territories an additional way to attract international entrepreneurs.
- The Government will also be consulting widely with industry to inform any further changes to the Complying Investment Framework. Any changes to the framework will be announced in the early half of next year, with sufficient time for businesses and investors to adjust.
Details of the review and information about the changes are available on the Department of Home Affairs website.