If you are seeking to establish a new or existing business, or to invest funds in a business or investment activity in South Australia, the Business Innovation and Investment subclass 188 visa may be an option for you to consider as a potential pathway to permanent residence in Australia.

Under the South Australian business visa sponsorship programme, you may be eligible to apply under one of four streams within the subclass 188 visa subclass, depending on your proposed business activity. If your application is successful, you will be granted a temporary visa for a period of 4 years and 3 months. You may then be eligible for permanent residence via the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) subclass 888 visa, provided you meet specified requirements. This will generally be after 1-4 years of holding the subclass 188 visa (when you become eligible will depend on the stream under which you apply). Note that for certain streams in this visa class, you may also have the option to extend the temporary visa.

Pathway to permanent residency with a business visa

Another type of business visa which you may like to consider is the Business Talent subclass 132 visa which is a permanent residence visa and therefore potentially a more attractive option. This visa, which comprises two streams, would enable you to establish a new or existing business in Australia.

Note that both the subclass 188 and 132 visas require that you be nominated by a State or Territory Government. If you are seeking nomination in South Australia, you will need to apply for nomination approval to Immigration South Australia (Immigration SA). Before doing so, it is important to check the eligibility criteria as set by Immigration SA which must be satisfied for nomination approval (note that these requirements vary for each State and Territory). You will also be subject to additional obligations as set by Immigration SA, as a condition of the nomination approval, should your visa application be successful.

The process for applying for a subclass 188 visa with Immigration

In this article, we provide a general overview of the requirements that you will need to satisfy for nomination approval in South Australia under the business visa programme. Note that this is an introduction only designed to help guide you in this process. State nomination approval is just one step in the visa application process. We therefore recommend before you apply, that you make the proper further enquires to ensure that you are fully informed about the business visa programme, including the process you need to follow, the requirements for nomination approval and visa grant and how they apply to you based on your individual circumstances.

This will give your application the best chance of a successful outcome and avoid the disappointment of a potential nomination and/or visa refusal. Note also that if you are seeking to be nominated by a State or Territory other than South Australia, the nomination requirements that you will need to satisfy will be different to those discussed in this article. If this applies to you, make sure that you seek further information that is relevant to your situation.

Note also that all legislative and regulatory provisions that relate to migration matters (such as requirements for nomination approval and visa grant, etc.) are subject to change at any time. Any given State or Territory authority may also periodically close its nomination programme to new applications for any number of reasons, including for example, once all available nomination places have been filled for the year. It is therefore strongly recommended that you seek further up-to-date information and advice about your migration matter before you submit your application. This will ensure that you address all nomination and visa requirements as they apply at the time you lodge your application. Otherwise, you risk missing important conditions that may affect your application and which too, can result in delays and/or a refusal.

Business Innovation and Investment Visa

If you are seeking to apply for nomination by Immigration SA, you may consider applying under one of the following streams:

  • Business Innovation
  • Investor
  • Significant Investor
  • Entrepreneur

The visa application process involves first submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) which, if successful, will result in receipt of an invitation to apply for the visa. You must also receive nomination approval from Immigration, which confirms its agreement to nominate you for the subclass 188 visa (note the nomination application is made at the same time as you submit your EOI). The final step in the application process will then be to apply for the visa.

Note that for a successful application, you will need to meet three sets of requirements, as follows:

  • Requirements for nomination approval, which will differ for each State and Territory (application is made to the relevant nominating authority, in this case, Immigration SA);
  • Requirements for lodging a valid EOI (application is made to Immigration); and
  • Requirements for visa grant (application is made to Immigration).

In this article, we focus on the first step in the process, being the nomination requirements as set by Immigration SA. For a general overview of the entire process, including steps 2 and 3 as noted above, we refer you to the following article (link to article 1).

Business Innovation stream

This visa stream is designed for business owners who seek to either relocate their existing overseas business, or to establish a new business in South Australia.

You will need to satisfy the following South Australian nomination requirements under the Business Innovation stream.

  • Meet subclass 188 visa grant requirements in the Business Innovation stream
  • Have an intention to reside in South Australia
  • Have an intention to establish a business in South Australia that meets the visa grant requirements for the subclass 888 visa under the Business Innovation stream (as noted above, this is the permanent residence visa which you may eligible to apply for as a holder of the subclass 188 visa after a certain period, provided you meet specified requirements at that time)
  • Agree to register with Immigration SA upon your arrival in South Australia and keep the agency updated with your contact details for the period that you hold the subclass 188 visa
  • As the main applicant, you must have previously visited South Australia and you will need to provide evidence to document that this requirement is satisfied. Failure to do so will result in your nomination application being refused.

 Investor stream

This stream is aimed at successful investors or business owners who are seeking to invest a minimum of $1,500,000 in South Australia for a period of four years.

You will need to satisfy the following South Australian nomination requirements under the Investor stream.

  • Meet subclass 188 visa grant requirements in the Investor stream
  • Have an intention to reside in South Australia
  • Have an intention to invest $1,500,000 into South Australian Government Financing Authority (SAFA) bonds for four years. Note that if you are over the age of 55, you must invest $5,000,000
  • Agree to register with Immigration SA upon your arrival in South Australia and keep the agency updated with your contact details for the period that you hold the subclass 188 visa

Significant Investor stream

This stream is designed for applicants seeking to invest $5,000,000 into a complying South Australian investment for a period of four years.

You will need to satisfy the following South Australian nomination requirements under the Significant Investor stream.

  • Satisfy subclass 188 visa grant requirements in the Significant Investor stream, which includes investing $5,000,000 for four years into specified qualifying investments
  • Agree to register with Immigration SA upon your arrival in South Australia and keep the agency updated with your contact details for the period that you hold the subclass 188 visa

Entrepreneur stream

This stream is aimed for applicants who have a funding agreement from a third party for at least $200,000 to undertake a complying entrepreneur activity that is proposed to lead to either the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia, or the development of a business in South Australia.

You will need to satisfy the following South Australian nomination requirements under the Entrepreneur stream

  • Satisfy subclass 188 visa grant requirements under the Entrepreneur stream
  • As part of your State nomination application, you need to provide the business plan that will be presented to Immigration, which includes evidence that the complying entrepreneur activity is, or will be, of economic benefit to South Australia
  • Provide a statement detailing how you intend to maintain an ongoing relationship with the South Australian Government and with South Australia more generally during the period that you hold the subclass 188 visa
  • Demonstrate ownership of net business and personal assets of a specified minimum financial value as set by Immigration SA (combined with your spouse/de facto partner), to support your settlement in South Australia (note the minimum financial value required will depend on the number of applicants included and whether you apply from onshore or outside Australia. Note also that Australian international graduates are permitted to claim financial support from their parents to satisfy this requirement).

The must next steps in the process for a sucessful application with SA immigration

In addition to the above requirements for the temporary stage of your application for State nomination, to ensure that the South Australian Government maintains its support when you come to apply for a subclass 888 visa at a future date (once eligibility requirements are met), you are advised to:

  • Meet with Immigration SA within two months of your arrival in Australia if you lodged your application from offshore. If you lodged in Australia, you should arrange to meet with the agency within 2 months of the visa being granted
  • Meet with Immigration SA at least every 12 months whilst you hold the 188 visa. The purpose of these meetings is for you to outline your progress, and to discuss possible ways in which the South Australian Government may be able to assist you with advice
  • Maintain your principal place of residence in South Australia
  • Maintain the primary physical location of your business in South Australia (where applicable, noting that your entrepreneurial activity may extend across interstate borders as well as internationally).

Pathway to Permanent Residency

After you have held the temporary subclass 188 visa for a certain length of time, you may then be able to apply for permanent residency via the subclass 888, provided you meet specified requirements at that time. Depending on which stream you apply under will determine when you can apply for the permanent residence visa.

Note that before submitting your permanent residence visa application with the Department, you are required to re-apply for State nomination to Immigration SA. This will require ensuring that you meet Immigration SA requirements as they apply at that date. We recommend that you see further advice about these requirements if this is applicable to you.

Business Talent Visa

This visa is designed for applicants with a proven successful business history who seek to establish a new business or develop an existing business in Australia. You will need to have a genuine and realistic commitment to continuously maintain an ownership interest in, and to participate in, the daily management of the business.

The application process involves first submitting an EOI which, if successful, will result in receipt of an invitation to apply for the visa. You must also receive nomination approval from Immigration SA.

The subclass 132 visa consists of 2 streams:

  • Significant Business History stream – this is aimed for high level business owners who seek to undertake significant business activity providing either employment, exports or high-level investment. Two years following visa grant, you will be subject to a review by Immigration.
  • Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream – this is for applicants who have obtained at least $1,000,000 in agreed funding from an Australian venture capital firm, which is also an Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL) member, to develop an innovation to commercial stage.

The following requirements must be satisfied under each of these streams to receive nomination approval by Immigration SA.

Significant Business History stream

  • Have a commitment to South Australia, which is demonstrated by having visited South Australia prior to submitting your nomination application. You must also intend to engage in a business and reside in South Australia with a view to settling in the State long-term
  • Have a commitment to invest in South Australia and meet the Benefit to State requirement
  • Agree to register your arrival in South Australia with Immigration SA, maintain your contact details and provide updates online and in person every six months for the duration of your visa
  • Meet Immigration visa grant requirements for the Business Talent subclass 132 visa
  • Meet your stated achievements within two years, which is demonstrated by providing specified information to Immigration SA for review. The information must detail the type of business being conducted, the scale of the business and which of the Benefit to State requirements you have met (this process comprises submission of a form as well as evidence to document your claims).

Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream

  • Meet Immigration visa grant requirements for the Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream
  • Have an intention to live in South Australia
  • Have a viable business idea approved for a minimum $1,000,000 from a member of the AVCAL for a business venture in South Australia. The venture must be of exceptional economic benefit to South Australia with intellectual property to be registered in Australia
  • Agree to register with Immigration SA upon your arrival in South Australia and keep the agency updated with your contact details for the period that you hold the subclass 188 visa

Conclusion

In conclusion, we note that the above provides an overview only of the South Australian nomination requirements under the business visa program.  Given the highly complex nature of the migration laws, and the fact that every individual case is different, we recommend that you engage a registered migration agent who will be able to provide you with detailed advice about the business visa programme overall, including the South Australia nomination requirements and your eligibility to apply.  Note also that the above discussion refers to a number of defined terms in the migration provisions and nomination requirements. Detailed advice about these is beyond the scope of this article and we would therefore recommend that you seek further information in this regard. Being fully informed about the application process, eligibility requirements and the documentary evidence which needs to be provided with your application will help you to avoid unnecessary processing delays or potentially your application being refused.

Contact Us today for any immigration assistance or a comprehensive visa assessment with our experienced lawyers.