'Key conditions' announced for significant investor visa

Date: Aug 30, 2012

A full list of criteria that must be fulfilled by applicants for Australia's new significant investor visa program has been launched this week by immigration minister Chris Bowen.

The news is a particularly important development for applicants, as well as the migration lawyers who may help to prepare this type of visa application after November 24, when the new program commences.

Bowen's latest announcement, made on August 29, confirms speculation that investors will be required to make a minimum $5 million investment  that complies with the rules set out by the Australian government.

Eligible investments include managed funds regulated by the Australian Security Investment Commission that invest specifically in Australian assets, as well as both state and territory bonds.

Prospective applicants can also make a direct investment into a private Australian company that is not listed on the stock exchange - and in this case, these companies may also be required to meet qualifying business standards.

"The business innovation and investment program is positioned to target migrants with a demonstrated history of success in business and investment, to make a powerful contribution to national innovation and the Australian economy," said Bowen.

Prospective applicants are invited to submit their details to the online SkillSelect register after November 24 - and Commonwealth government will work with leaders from state and territory governments to ensure that high-profile investors with the right business experience are selected for the visa.

Eligible candidates for the significant investor visa will be granted an initial four year visa - which can then be extended by additional two-year periods.

Other concessions for significant investor visas include no upper age limit, as well as not having to meet the minimum requirements set out in the points test.

Significant investor visa holders must satisfy a residency requirement of 160 days in Australia within the initial four years of their visa - a move that Bowen says reflects an understanding of investors' needs.

"This flexibility recognises the need of the global investor community while also encouraging investment into Australia," he said.

The significant investor visa was one of many changes announced for the Business Skills visa program back in May. Since July 1, this visa category has been replaced with the Business Innovation and Investment Program.