Recent Update: Amendments in Business Innovation and Investment Visa Program
Please be informed that the Australian government has made improvements to the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP), which aims to boost investment and create jobs in key sectors of the economy. The amendments to Australia Business and Investor visas, which take effect on July 1, 2021, include a reduction in the number of streams in the BIIP from nine to four. The eligibility criteria are also being changed. The number of places allocated to the BIIP in 2020-21 has nearly doubled compared to the previous year, to 13,500.
The following are the most significant changes:
From July 1, 2021, the following four visa streams will be available:
- Innovation in Business
- Significant Investor
Provisional visas will be valid for five years.
After three years, each visa stream would have a path to permanent residency. Beginning July 1, 2021, the Premium Investor, Significant Business History and Venture Capital Entrepreneur visa streams will be phased out.
Holders of the Business Innovation and Significant Investor visas will be able to extend their provisional visas if they meet certain criteria.
The minimum business assets needed to be retained will increase to $1.25 million, and the annual turnover level will be increased to $750,000 for the Business Innovation visa stream.
Applicants for the Entrepreneur Visa Stream will no longer be required to meet the $200,000 funding requirement. Applicants will need a government endorsement from a state or territory.
You can read more about this announcement in a press release issued by Alan Tudge, the former acting minister for immigration, citizenship, migrant services and multicultural affairs, by clicking on this link: Getting A Better Deal For Australia From Business & investment Visas.
Individuals seeking to create, operate or invest in a business, or invent a product or service for commercialization in Australia should apply for a business (investment) visa. This program offers both temporary and permanent visa options, with both requiring you to be nominated by a state or territory government (or by a specified government agency in certain cases).
Another popular feature is that you must first request a visa invitation before you can continue with your application. This is facilitated through the expression of interest (EOI) process, which you must apply to the department as a first step, along with an application for appointment to the appropriate state or territory authority.
The Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) subclass 188 visa is a temporary residency visa that allows you to stay in Australia for up to four years and three months, with options to extend the visa term depending on the visa stream for which you apply. If you have kept the temporary visa for between one to four years, you can apply for the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) subclass 888 visa, which allows you to stay in the country permanently if certain conditions are met.
There are five streams in the subclass 188 visa, plus two additional “extension” streams for the temporary visa term. Each stream lays out the conditions for obtaining the visa, which could include spending a certain amount of money in Australia or forming a funding arrangement with a third party to carry out the proposed business operation. To apply, you will need to pass a points exam. This test will assign you a score based on your age, qualifications, the financial value of your assets (combined with your partner’s) and the turnover of your company.
Alternatively, you can apply for a Business Talent (Permanent) subclass 132 visa, which is a permanent resident visa that allows you to stay in Australia indefinitely. It has two visa sources and allows you to show that you have the required assets and turnover, or that you have received a certain amount of venture capital funding to run a new or established company in Australia.
You may also apply for dependent visas for qualified family members to accompany you to Australia. They must meet visa grant conditions, which include health and character requirements. Both visa subclasses also allow you and your dependents to enter and leave Australia freely during the visa period.
The South Australian Entrepreneur Visa, a pilot program aimed at encouraging creative business projects in Australia, was also introduced by the government. It began on Nov. 21, 2018, and will end in November 2021.
Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Subclass 188 Visa
The subclass 188 visa contains the following streams:
- Significant Investor Extension
- Premium Investor
- Business Innovation
- Significant Investor
- Business Innovation Extension
The following are the key conditions that must be fulfilled to submit a valid application for a subclass 188 visa:
- An invitation to apply for a subclass 188 visa must have been sent to you.
- You must submit your visa application within the 60-day timeframe specified in the invitation.
- A state or territory government department must appoint you (or Austrade, where applicable).
- The application must be submitted online via ImmiAccount on the department’s website.
- It is necessary to pay the correct application fee. Further information is provided later in this guide on that.
You must have either a substantive visa or a Bridging A, B, or C visa if you are applying from onshore. You will not be allowed to apply for a subclass 188 visa in Australia if your new visa is subject to condition 8503, which is “No Further Stay,” though exceptions may apply. If you’re applying for the extension stream, keep in mind that there are some additional criteria to meet. The conditions for obtaining a subclass 188 visa differ depending on which stream you apply for, as detailed below.