The Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa is designed for applicants who are looking to own and manage a business; to conduct business and investment activity; or to undertake an entrepreneurial activity in Australia. This business visa consists of five visa streams (plus two additional ‘extension’ streams) and requires applicants to be nominated by a State or Territory Government agency to qualify. If you are applying under the Significant Investor Subclass 188c visa stream, you may instead be nominated by Austrade. The Premium Investor stream requires nomination approval by Austrade only.
This provisional visa provides a pathway to permanent residence in Australia via the Subclass 888 Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa subject to meeting certain requirements.
What Are the Business Innovation And Investment Visa Streams?
The Subclass 188 visa consists of the following streams:
- Business Innovation
- Business Innovation Extension
- Significant Investor
- Significant Investor Extension
- Premium Investor
Each visa stream is designed for a specific purpose, with a prescribed set of requirements which must be satisfied for visa approval. If you are seeking to invest at least AUD $5 million in complying significant investments in Australian and to maintain investment activity in Australia, then you may be interested in the Significant Investor visa 188c stream.
Significant Investor Visa Stream
The Significant Investor subclass 188c visa term is 4 years and 3 months. There is also an extension stream which allows Significant Investor Subclass visa 188c holders to extend their stay in Australia for up to 4 more years. This means that eligible applicants may remain in Australia for a total period of 8 years under the Significant Investor visa stream.
A key requirement to qualify for the permanent Subclass 888c visa under the Significant Investor stream is that the applicant must have held a complying investment of AUD $5 million for 4 years.
State Sponsorship in South Australia under the Significant Investor stream is aimed at attracting people who are willing to benefit South Australia and invest AUD $5 million into a complying investment for four years.
How Can You Qualify For The Provisional Significant Investor Stream Visa In South Australia?
To be eligible for a Subclass 188c visa nomination approval in South Australia under the Significant Investor stream, applicants must meet two sets of requirements:
- State Nomination criteria as set by the relevant State or Territory which you elect to sponsor you; and
- Immigration requirements for valid visa lodgement and grant.
Before you can apply to the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) for the Subclass 188c Significant Investor stream visa, you must apply for an invitation to apply for the visa by lodging an Expression of Interest (EOI) (at the same time as you lodge your sponsorship application to South Australia). If your application is successful, you will receive an invitation from the Department to apply for the visa, which you must do within 60 days.
A key requirement to qualify under the Significant Investor stream is that you must make (on or after you apply for the visa), a complying significant investment of at least AUD $5 million when you receive an invitation to apply. You must also have a genuine intention to hold that investment for at least 4 years.
In addition, you must invest this amount in the following proportions:
- at least AUD $500,000 in venture capital and growth private equity funds which invest in start-ups and small private companies;
- at least AUD $1.5 million in approved managed funds. The managed funds must invest in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)
- a ‘balancing investment’ of at least AUD $3 million in managed funds
The managed funds can invest in a range of assets, including companies listed on the ASX, Australian corporate bonds or notes, annuities and commercial real estate.
Direct investment in residential real estate is not accepted. Only indirect investments in residential property through managed funds are permitted.
Applicants must also not use investments as security or collateral for a loan.
We recommend you refer to the Austrade website for further information about the complying investment framework.
Additional Requirements To Qualify For South Australian State Nomination For The Significant Investor Stream
To qualify for nomination approval in South Australia, you must have a genuine intention to reside in that state. You must also maintain your current contact details with Immigration South Australia (Skilled & Business Migration) for the duration of your Subclass visa 188c significant investor stream visa.
You must confirm that you have sufficient financial resources to support yourself and your dependents to settle in South Australia and understand that it is your responsibility to determine the cost of living in South Australia. Evidence of financial capacity is not required. However, Skilled & Business Migration may seek additional information or evidence at a later stage if necessary.
You are also required to provide the name of, and information about, your proposed complying investment/s and its fund manager.
How Can You Qualify For The Provisional Significant Investor Extension Stream Visa In South Australia?
To be eligible for the Subclass 188c Significant Investment extension stream, you must either:
- hold a Subclass 188c Provisional visa in the Significant Investor stream. This visa must have been held for at least 3 years; or
- hold a Subclass 188c Provisional visa in the Significant Investor Extension stream, and not have held more than one Significant Investor Extension stream visa.
You must also continue to hold your complying significant investment in accordance with the complying investment framework in place at the time you applied for the provisional visa.
How Can You Qualify For The Permanent Subclass 888 Significant Investor Stream Visa In South Australia?
The main requirements to qualify for the permanent Subclass 888c Significant Investor stream visa are as follows:
- be the primary holder of a Subclass 188 visa in the Significant Investor stream or Significant Investor Extension stream;
- you must have a current nomination from South Australia. You are not required to apply for a new EOI. However Immigration SA must confirm that your nomination approval remains current; and
- for the whole period during which you held your Provisional Visa, you must have held a ‘complying investment’ (if your subclass 188 visa was granted on the basis of an application made before 1 July 2015) or a ‘complying significant investment’ (if your subclass 188 visa was granted on the basis of an application made on or after 1 July 2015).
If any part of your investment is or was a direct investment in an Australian proprietary company, then:
- if the period of the direct investment was less than 2 years, the company must have been a qualifying business for the whole period; or
- if the period of the direct investment was 2 years or more, the company was a ‘qualifying business’ for at least 2 years; or
- if the company has been unable to operate as a ‘qualifying business’, you must have made a genuine attempt to operate the business as a ‘qualifying business.’
To be eligible for grant of a Subclass 888c permanent Significant Investor stream visa, you must also meet the residence requirement, which relates to the period that you have been in Australia whilst you have been in Australia as the holder of the provisional Subclass 188 visa. This requirement stipulates the following:*
- You must have been in Australia for at least the number of days worked out by adding the results of paragraphs (a) and (b):
(a) 40 multiplied by the number of complete years in the period in which you held a subclass 188 visa in the Significant Investor stream, and
(b) 40 multiplied by the number of years (if any) (treating a part of a year as one year) in the period in which you held a subclass 188 visa in the Significant Investor Extension stream.
An alternative criterion may apply if there is dependent spouse or defacto partner of the primary applicant.
Concessions have been introduced for Subclass 188 provisional visa holders who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under these changes, time spent overseas will count as time being in Australia if, during the COVID-19 concession period, you held a:
- Subclass 188 Significant Investor stream or Significant Investor Extension stream visa; and
- Your Significant Investor stream visa was granted on or before 30 June 2019.
Note that time spent in Australia does not need to be continuous (the number of days are calculated cumulatively).
What Is Required To Maintain Your Nomination Approval For The Permanent Subclass 888 Significant Investor Stream Visa In South Australia
Additional requirements to maintain your nomination approval in South Australia for the permanent Subclass 888c Significant Investor stream visa are outlined below.*
- Hold a provisional Significant Investor stream visa nominated by South Australia or a completed release form;
- Meet Immigration requirements for the Subclass 888 Significant Investor stream visa. There is no maximum age requirement or points test for this visa;
- Meet the benefit to state requirement by demonstrating that either the complying investment materially benefited the South Australian economy, or a commitment to live and/or invest in South Australia.
*Note these requirements apply if you were nominated after 1 November 2017.
In conclusion, we note that the above provides an overview only of the eligibility requirements for the Significant Investor Visa in South Australia (there are also other requirements that apply). 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 as they will be able to provide you with detailed advice about the business visa, different streams available and that you may qualify for, and the most appropriate option/s for you. This will enable you to be fully informed before you lodge with the Department and avoid a potential visa refusal or unnecessary processing delays.
Get More Information
You can learn more about the business visa (including the other visa streams available) by referring to our Comprehensive Guide to a Business Investment Visa.
Immigration South Australia has released a fact sheet on the Significant Investor Visa outlining the requirements that apply and further information on the complying investment framework.
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Australian Government – Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Guide to investing
Immigration South Australia – Business and Investment visas – Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa – Subclass 188
Immigration South Australia – Business and Investment visas – Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa – Subclass 888
Immigration South Australia