Australian 188 visas

188 Visas – Things to note

Firstly, 188 visas are 4-year temporary visas, leading to PR if you qualify, after this probationary period. If you would prefer to secure permanent residency on arrival you may want to consider the 132 visa stream.

The most popular 188 visa

The 188e is the preferred choice for entrepreneurs. Enabling people to open a business in Australia, leading to permanent residency in only 2-years. For those who want to own their own business, the 188e is an extremely attractive low-cost option.

The Key point

  • Lowest cost of entry to emigrate as a business owner.
  • The business must have received an AUD 200k investment from an Australian regulated Venture Capital fund.
  • There is no requirement to have previously owned a business.
  • Visas processed quickly
  • Permanent residency approved in only 2-years

The Investment

The Australian immigration Authorities are comfortable with businesses that secured an investment from a VC fund who will remain a minority shareholder. As they can be confident the business will be managed professionally during the probationary period.

How to qualify

We assist our clients to develop their business plans or introduce them to existing business opportunities. We also assist in securing the necessary investment from a regulated Australian VC fund.

Investing in Australia Solutions

Explore all five 188 visa streams in more detail here

Business and Innovation Stream 188a

This is a 4-year temporary option. Once you have established an ownership interest in an Australian company, you can apply for permanent residence through the Business Innovation & Investment (Residence) Subclass 888 visa.

A 2-year extension is possible once you have held the subclass 188 for three years, giving you six years from the date of grant of the original visa.

 

Do I Apply in Australia or Overseas?

You can either be in Australia or overseas when you lodge your application.

If you are in Australia, you must hold a substantive visa or a Bridging A, B or C.

 

The Criteria

The Business Innovation Stream requires you to have owned a business and to be intending to establish business operations in Australia. You will need to meet the following specific requirements:

  • Ownership of a company with a turnover of at least AUD 500,000 for at least 2 of the last four fiscal years; and
  • Net personal and business assets of at least AUD 800,000; and
  • Under 55 years of age, unless the nominating state or territory certifies that you will make an exceptional economic benefit; and
  • Meet the pass mark in the Business Innovation and Investment Points test (currently 65)
  • Have an overall successful career in business

State/Territory Nomination

This is only available to applicants who are nominated by an Australian State or Territory government.

 

Eligibility for Permanent Residence

To qualify for a permanent Business Innovation & Investment (Residence) Subclass 888, you would need to meet the following criteria:

  • You have been in Australia on your subclass 188A for at least 12 months, within the two years before lodgement
  • Owned and operated a business in Australia for at least 2 years before the application with an annual turnover of at least $300,000 for the 2 of the last four years.
  • You or your partner must meet two of the following three criteria for the last 12 months:
    • Assets of at least $200,000 in the business
    • Net personal and business assets of at least $600,000 in Australia
    • Employed at least two Australian full-time employees in your business in Australia

Investor Stream 188B

This is not a very popular class and is only used by those who are unable to secure a 132b investor option. If you would like to review your options speak to one of our experts.

 

Duration and Conditions

This is a 4-year temporary stream. Once you have maintained an investment in Australia for 4 years, you can apply for permanent residence through the Business Innovation & Investment (Residence) Subclass 888.

 

Do I Apply in Australia or Overseas?

You can either be in Australia or overseas when you lodge your application.

If you are in Australia, you must hold a substantive visa or a Bridging A, B or C.

 

The Criteria

This option requires you to have managed investments or owned a business, and to be willing to invest AUD 1.5 million in Australian State or Territory Government bonds. Specific criteria include:

  • You have had a business and personal net assets of at least AUD 2.25 million for the last 2 fiscal years
  • Under 55 years of age, unless the nominating state or territory certifies that you will make an exceptional economic benefit; and
  • Meet the pass mark in the Business Innovation and Investment Points test (currently 65)
  • You must make an investment of AUD 1.5 million in Australian State or Territory bonds prior to a grant of the visa
  • You have 3 years of experience either managing a qualifying business or "eligible investments", and have shown a high level of management skill

For at least 1 of the last 5 fiscal years, you have either:

  • Managed a business in which you hold a 10% shareholding; or
  • Managed "eligible investments" of at least AUD 1.5 million

"Eligible investments" for the purposes of the Investor Stream include:

  • Ownership interests in a business
  • Cash on deposit
  • Stocks or bonds
  • Real estate
  • Gold or bullion
  • Loan to a business

State/Territory Nomination

This visa is only available to applicants who are nominated by an Australian State or Territory government.

 

Eligibility for Permanent Residence

To qualify for a permanent Business Innovation & Investment (Residence) Subclass 888, you would need to meet the following criteria:

  • You have been in Australia on your subclass 188B visa for at least 2 years, within the 4 years prior to lodgement
  • Maintained your investment in Australian State or Territory bonds for the last 4 years.

Significant Investor Subclass 188C

The Significant Investor 188C is a 4-year visa for people willing to make an AUD 5 million investment in Australia. It is one of the streams within the Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment stream.

 

Duration and Conditions

This is a 4-year temporary option. Once you have maintained an investment in Australia for 4 years, you can apply for permanent residence through the Business Innovation & Investment (Residence) via Subclass 888.

 

You will need to spend at least 40 days per year in Australia on your Significant Investor permit for the last 4 years and be sponsored by a state or territory government to qualify for a permanent subclass 888.

 

A 2-year extension is possible, and you can extend your SIV two times.

 

Do I Apply in Australia or Overseas?

You can either be in Australia or overseas when you lodge your application.

 

If you are in Australia, you must hold a substantive visa or a Bridging A, B or C visa.

 

Applications can only be lodged online via the SkillSelect system.

 

State/Territory/AusTrade Nomination

This visa is only available to applicants who are nominated by an Australian State or Territory government or by AusTrade.

 

Visa Requirements

Unlike other business migration categories, there is no upper age limit for this type of visa.

For grant of the visa, applicants must make an investment of at least AUD 5 million in a "complying investment". A "complying investment" for the purposes of the Significant Investor Visa must be made up of:

 

  • At least $500,000 in venture capital and growth private equity funds which invest in start-ups and small private companies
  • At least $1.5 million in approved managed funds investing in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
  • A 'balancing investment' of up to $3 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

Premium Investor Subclass 188D

The Premium Investor 188D is a 4-year visa for people willing to make an AUD 15 million investment in Australia. It is one of the streams within the Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment stream.

 

Duration and Conditions

This is a 4-year temporary option. Once you have maintained an investment in Australia for 1 year, you can apply for permanent residence through the Business Innovation & Investment (Residence) Subclass 888.

 

Do I Apply in Australia or Overseas?

You can either be in Australia or overseas when you lodge your application.

 

If you are in Australia, you must hold a substantive visa or a Bridging A, B or C.

 

Applications can only be lodged online via the SkillSelect system.

 

Nomination by AusTrade

This is only available to applicants who are nominated by AusTrade.

 

The Criteria

Unlike other business migration categories, there is no upper age limit for this type of visa.

Applicants must make an investment of at least AUD 15 million in a "premium investment" prior to approval. A "premium investment" for the purposes of the Premium Investor includes:

 

  • Australian securities exchange listed assets
  • Australian government or semi-government bonds or notes
  • Corporate bonds or notes issued by an Australian exchange listed entity (or a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australian listed entity) or investment grade rated Australian corporate bonds or notes rated by an AFS licenced debt rating agency
  • Australian proprietary limited companies
  • Real property in Australia excluding residential property
  • Deferred annuities issued by Australian registered life companies
  • State or territory government approved philanthropic contribution

Entrepreneur Subclass 188

The Entrepreneur 188 is for people who have investor funding to develop an enterprise or business in Australia.

It is one of the streams within the Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment stream.

 

Duration and Conditions

This is a 4-year temporary option. Once you have established business operations in Australia, you can apply for permanent residence through the Business Innovation & Investment (Residence) Subclass 888 route.

 

You will need to spend at least 2 years in Australia on your Entrepreneur permit and be sponsored by a state or territory government to qualify for a permanent subclass 888.

 

Do I Apply in Australia or Overseas?

Applications can only be lodged online via the SkillSelect system.

 

State/Territory Nomination

This is only available to applicants who are nominated by an Australian State or Territory government.

 

The Criteria

All applicants must meet the following criteria:

 

  • Nomination by a state or territory government
  • Competent English
  • Under 55 Years of age, unless a State or Territory Government nominates you as providing an "exceptional economic benefit" to the state or territory
  • Funding agreement in place for at least $200,000 to establish a venture in Australia
  • The ownership interest of at least 30% in the venture

Acceptable Business Activities

The proposed venture would need to be either:

 

  • The commercialisation of a product or service in Australia; or
  • Development of an enterprise or business in Australia

Certain activities which are not considered sufficiently innovative will be excluded. This is defined by legislative instrument and include:

 

  • Purchase of an existing business or franchise
  • Real estate activities
  • Labour hire activities

Eligible funding

 

To apply as an Entrepreneur, you will need to have an agreement for at least $200,000 in funding from one or more of the following sources:

 

  • Commonwealth agencies
  • State and territory governments
  • Publicly funded research organisations
  • Investors registered as Venture Capital Limited Partnerships or Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships

The funding agreement must involve the transfer of at least 10% of the funds within 12 months of commencing the activity in Australia.

Calculating your points as a Business Investor

NB: You Do NOT Require Points For The 132B Investor Stream   It is important to note that securing 65 points is the entry-level requirement and does not assure your business case will be successful. The points test is required by the federal government to ensure no state can view a potential business case unless these criteria are met. This is irrespective of the merits of the business case or the business and investment pedigree of the candidate.   If you struggle to achieve a potential 65 points arrange a consultation and we will examine your options.  

The Business Investor points table

 
Factor Description Points
Age 18–24 years 20
25–32 years 30
33–39 years 25
40–44 years 20
45–54 years 15
55 and older 0
English language ability Vocational English 5
Proficient English 10
Qualifications Australian trade certificate, diploma or bachelor degree by an Australian education institute; or a bachelor qualification recognised by an educational institution of a recognised standard 5
Bachelor degree in business, science or technology by an Australian institution; or a bachelor qualification by an educational institution of a recognised standard 10
Special endorsement The nominating state or territory government agency could decide that your proposed business is of unique and important benefit to the state or territory where the nominating government agency is located 10
Financial assets Net business and personal assets of you, your partner or you and your partner combined in each of the preceding two years of at least:
AUD800 000 5
AUD1.3 million 15
AUD1.8 million 25
AUD2.25 million 35
Business turnover Annual turnover in your main business during a period of at least two years of the preceding four fiscal years of at least:
AUD500 000 5
AUD1 million 15
AUD1.5 million 25
AUD2 million 35
Business Innovation stream only Business experience You have held one or more businesses before you were invited to apply for the visa for:
Not less than four years within the preceding five years 10
Not less than seven years within the preceding eight years 15
Investor stream only Investor experience Eligible investment of at least AUD100 000 held for:
At least four years before the time of invitation to apply for the visa 10
At least seven years before the time of invitation to apply for the visa 15
Business innovation qualifications At the time of invitation to apply for the visa: Evidence of registered patents or registered designs 15
Evidence of registered trademarks 10
Evidence of formal joint venture agreements 5
Evidence of export trade 15
Evidence of ownership interest in a gazelle business 10
Evidence of receipt of grants or venture capital funding 10
State or territory nomination Special endorsement (limited places) 10

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