Australia creates new investor visa

22 Jul 15

AUSTRALIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Australia has launched a new Premium Investor Visa (PIV) programme, available by invitation to foreign nationals capable of investing A$15 million (about US$11 million) in the Australian economy. The country has also made changes to its Significant Investor Visa (SIV) programme, open to foreign nationals who invest A$5 million (about US$3.7 million).

What does the change mean? Foreign nationals invited to do so can obtain permanent residence through the PIV programme in 12 months by investing A$15 million. Foreign nationals capable of investing A$5 million are able to apply for permanent residence through the SIV programme after four years. Investment requirements are more flexible for foreign nationals invited to participate in the PIV programme.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: PIVs and SIVs.
  • Who is affected: Foreign investors interested in permanent residence in Australia.
  • Business impact: The PIV and SIV programmes both provide an expedited path for business people and investors intending to reside in Australia.

Background: PIVs will be available by invitation only. The required A$15 million can be invested in a number of ways, including securities, government bonds, certain corporate bonds, real property (excluding residential property), deferred annuities, or government-approved philanthropic donations. Investors are eligible for permanent residence after 12 months and are not required to live in Australia during that time.

Officials made changes to the SIV programme in an effort to steer money away from passive investments such as government bonds or residential real estate.

SIV applicants must invest at least A$5 million over four years, including at least A$500,000 in select venture capital or private equity funds investing in start-ups and other small private companies; at least A$1.5 million in managed funds or Listed Investment Companies (LICs) that invest in emerging companies on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX); and an investment of up to A$3 million in managed funds or LICs that invest in a mix of ASX-listed companies, corporate bonds, annuities, and real property.

SIV applicants cannot count previous investments toward the A$5 million total. They must invest their money for at least four years before being eligible for permanent residence and are required to be in Australia for at least 40 days for each year they have held an SIV.

BAL Analysis: The PIV and SIV programmes provide alternative migration routes for wealthy investors capable of investing large sums of money and interested in relocating to Australia. The PIV provides flexible investment opportunities for foreign nationals invited to participate in the programme, though it remains to be seen how many people will take Australia up on the opportunity given the A$15 million price tag. The SIV programme has proved to be relatively popular, and by changing the investment requirements, the Australian Government is hoping to give a boost to start-ups and other emerging companies.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com.

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