‘Premier Investor Visa’ introduced, along with changes to Significant Investor Visas

15 Oct 14

AUSTRALIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Australian Government will launch a new Premium Investor Visa to attract higher net-worth investors, and will make other changes to the Significant Investor Visa program in the coming year.

What does the change mean? The new Premium Investor Visa will be open to those investing a minimum of A$15 million. Changes to the Significant Investor Visa will not apply to current holders or applicants.

  • Implementation timeframe: The Government has said the changes will be implemented in 2014-15 and changes requiring legislative amendments will take effect July 2015.
  • Visas/permits affected: Business Innovation and Investment Visas (subclass 188 (provisional) and subclass 888 (permanent)).
  • Who is affected: Foreign investors.
  • Impact on processing times: Some of the changes are aimed at improving processing times.
  • Business impact: The changes will attract business and investment activity in Australia by creating a new visa stream, while imposing some new rules on the Significant Investor Visa stream.
  • Next steps: BAL will update clients on developments in the investor streams as they happen in the coming months.

Background: The Business Innovation and Investment Program entitles qualifying investors to apply for residency at the provisional stage, then on a permanent basis. Applicants must first submit an Expression of Interest and then be invited to apply under a business or investor stream.

In March, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection called for a review of the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) stream. On 14 October, the Government announced it will adopt several of the review’s recommendations, including creation of a Premium Investor Visa (PIV) stream within the Business Innovation and Investor Visa program.

Key features of this new visa are:

  1. Minimum investment of A$15 million in qualifying instruments.
  2. No residency requirement.
  3. Nomination by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade).
  4. Eligibility to apply for permanent residency after 12 months.

The Government will also make changes to the Significant Investor Visa program, including:

  1. Improving visa processing times.
  2. Allowing Austrade to nominate SIV and PIV applicants and to help determine which investments qualify under investment rules.
  3. Allowing the principal and secondary applicants to “swap roles” during the provisional stage of all visa streams within the Business Innovation and Investment program.
  4. Lengthening the residency requirement for secondary applicants to 180 days.

BAL Analysis: The changes will provide greater flexibility and faster processing for investors seeking permanent residency for themselves and family members in Australia.

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

MARN: 9683856

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