The Australian government has finally launched the South Australian Entrepreneur Visa. It will start on 21 November 2018. This will be an exciting visa to see how successful it will be. We have been eagerly awaiting the announcement of this visa to see exactly what will be required. Here are the key criteria:

  1. Must be under 45 years old
  2. Must have “vocational English”
  3. You have a strong written business plan
  4. Your business idea must have been endorsed by the South Australian Government

It is expected that there will be a formal process of approval of business plans by the South Australian Government to assess which applicants meet their broad “innovation” criterion. That is, they want to see business ideas that are innovative. What does that normally mean? Well, it normally means no to established businesses, established business practices, definitely not franchises, (unless you are establishing a franchise with a new business idea). We can expect some further guidance on what they are looking for, and we can take some cues from venture capitalists in terms of what constitutes a strong business idea that is innovative.

The South Australian government is pitching the visa as designed for the “world’s best and brightest start-up entrepreneurs”, which sounds like it is setting the bar quite high! They have explicitly referenced examples of the types of fields that would be aligned to the visa purposes – space, cyber security, big data, defence, agribusiness, medical technology and robotics. Applicants will be assessed by Immigration SA via ‘innovation ecosystem providers or the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur’. Essentially, a panel of experts are going to need to be sufficiently impressed by the idea to grant the necessary endorsement to apply for the visa.

It is expected that applicants will need to demonstrate that they have sufficient capital to see their ideas through.

The business plan will need to elucidate how the entrepreneur plans to adapt and ‘learn from trial and error’, something that is expected of genuine entrepreneurship in the innovation space. The South Australian government will work with the visa holders via their industry partners to adapt their business plans and support them on the start up journey.

The visa should be granted for 4 years with an ability to extend (one would assume provided certain criteria are met that the business is doing reasonably well). However,, in the announcement the government stated that the specified pilot program will run from 21 November 2018 to 30 November 2021. It is unclear if visas will be granted only to the end of 2021 or whether the full 4 year visa will still be granted, or some variation between those two periods.

Interestingly, the 408 Temporary Activities visa carries a “genuine temporary entrant” criterion. This requires the applicant to demonstrate that they intend to stay temporarily. It is unclear how the Department will approach this criterion.

By the way, the formal name for the visa is : 408 Temporary Activity – Supporting Innovation in South Australia Event stream.

We will provide an update on this post as soon as we have further details. If you would like advice about whether your idea might qualify, and what the implications of this visa are for you in light of your other options, it is important you obtain expert advice. Book a consultation today with Constantine.