Choosing to move to Australia is a very exciting decision – congratulations! Now the question is, which visa is right for you? If you are able to invest, the 188C visa otherwise known as the Significant Investor visa (SIV) may be right for you. But what is it and how does it work?
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1. Why Would I Want the 188C SIV Significant Investor Visa?
The 188 Subclass is a group of visas for people looking to invest in Australia. There are a number of visa types in this subclass which vary in their conditions based on the value of the investment made. Compared to other business visas, the 188C has the following advantages:
- No upper age limit;
- No English language requirement;
- No points test;
- Able to bring eligible dependants (spouse/partner, dependent children up to 23 years old);
- No academic qualification requirement;
- No business management skills or fund management experience requirements;
- May be applied for from within Australia or outside Australia;
- Ability to extend visa (up to 8 years in total);
- Flexible residential requirement (you need only reside in Australia 40 days per year);
- Pathway to permanent residency.
Of course, the biggest attraction factor for many is that the 188C SIV offers successful applicants a direct pathway to permanent residency in Australia.
Work Visa Lawyers can help with your application for a 188C SIV Significant Investor visa.
2. Who Can Apply for SIV Australia?
The 188C SIV Significant Investor visa is open to applicants with high assets and a high income, who are willing to make a AUD 5 million investment in Australia.
The applicant and/or their spouse must:
1. Have net personal assets of AUD 5 million;
2. Be nominated by an Australian state or a territory or the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade);
3. Be willing and able to make an investment of AUD 5 million into a complying significant investment fund.
3. How Do I Become a Permanent Resident?
188C SIV Significant Investor visa holders are eligible to become permanent residents of Australia if they:
- Hold the AUD 5 million complying investment for 4 years;
- Either spend 160 days in Australia, or their spouse spends 720 days in Australia; and
- Are nominated by an Australian state or a territory, or Austrade.
Permanent Residency does not happen automatically though – you must apply for it! At Work Visa Lawyers, we can help with this aspect of the visa process too.
4. What Happens To the Money I Invest?
One of the most common questions we get asked about the 188C SIV Significant Investor visa is, “what happens to the money I invest?” Once you have signed up, your money is invested into managed funds which the Australia Government identifies as being beneficial to Australia. These are used to boost the national economy.
The investment is split into:
- AUD 500,000 in venture capital and growth private equity funds which will invest in start-ups and small private companies;
- AUD 1.5 million in approved managed funds which must invest in new companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange; and
- a ‘balancing investment’ of at least AUD 3 million in managed funds.
The money must remain invested for at least 4 years, although it may be transferred to another complying investment during this period.
You remain the legal owner of the money during and after the investment period and if your investment grows, that growth belongs to you too (subject to Australian tax law). Once the minimum investment period is complete, your investment is returned to you and you may use it as you wish.
Of course, as with any investment, there is a chance of financial loss. You should always obtain advice from an experienced lawyer and an independent financial advisor before making this kind of decision*. Make an appointment with Work Visa Lawyers today to discuss whether this is the right visa for you.
*Work Visa Lawyers are not financial advisors and cannot provide you with financial advice – you should also speak with an independent financial advisor before making this decision.
5. How Do I Apply For a 188C SIV Significant Investor visa?
If you meet the requirements in point 2, you can apply for a 188C SIV Significant Investor visa from anywhere in the world. First, you will need to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) with either the state or territory in which you wish to reside, or with Austrade. Work Visa Lawyers proudly recommends South Australia, but we can assist with your application to any state, territory or Austrade. The state/territory or Austrade will assess your EOI and if you meet the criteria, they will nominate you for a Significant Investor 188C visa. Once you are nominated, you will need to submit an application, complete with evidence that you meet the requirements.
To ensure your application is completed correctly and give you the best chance of success, you should engage an experienced immigration law firm like Work Visa Lawyers to draft and lodge your paperwork for you.
Applying from within Australia
If you are already in Australia and want to stay here while you wait for your 188C SIV Significant Investor visa application to be processed, you may need another visa for the duration, usually this will be a Bridging Visa. There are 2 options depending on your situation.
-Bridging Visa A
Bridging Visa A (BVA) allows applicants to stay in Australia until a visa decision is reached. The BVA does not have a travel facility however, so should you wish to travel outside of Australia for any reason while waiting for your visa, you will need to apply for Bridging Visa B.
-Bridging Visa B
Bridging Visa B (BVB) allows applicants to leave and return to Australia whilst awaiting a decision on visa applications. This visa is ideal if you have business or personal needs to attend to outside Australia, but wish to return.
Applying from Outside Australia
Applying from outside Australia is ok too! Work Visa Lawyers has Immigration Lawyers and Registered Migration Agents available for consultation at a time that suits you via Zoom, over the telephone, or face to face in our Adelaide office. Our staff speak many languages and we can arrange an interpreter if you would like one.
6. Who Is Applying For the 188C SIV Significant Investor visa?
Since the launch of SIV program in November 2012, the bulk of applications originated in the following 5 main countries and regions, primarily in Asia. This is in part due to Australia’s geographical proximity to Asia, but Australia is also an ideal location for lifestyle, universities and healthcare, global business, and financial security.
Applications were from:
- Mainland China, 84.8%
- Hong Kong, 5.1%
- Vietnam, 1.3%
- Malaysia, 1.2%
- South Africa, 1.1%
7. Changes Are Coming Soon!
This article is correct at the date of publication but changes are coming! In April 2023, the Minister Clare O'neil confirmed that the Business Innovation and Investment Program will not be abolished. However, a radical restructure is needed to attract highly skilled people who will create the future jobs for Australians.
Do you need help?
Our team of experienced Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents look forward to assisting you with your Australian visa or appeal.
Based in Adelaide South Australia, we provide Australian Immigration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.
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