Business Skills (Temporary) Subclass 188 Visas

The pathway to permanent residence in Australia for Business Migrants consist of two stages. You must first apply for the Business Skills (Temporary) Subclass 188 visa which consist of five streams, namely the Business Innovation Stream, the Investor Stream, the Significant Investor Stream, the Premium Investor Stream and the Entrepreneur Stream. This visa is normally granted for a period of 4 years and 3 months. Subsequent to meeting the necessary criteria for permanent residence you may then apply for the Business Skills (Permanent) Subclass 888 visa in the same stream that you applied for your Business Skills (Temporary) Subclass 188 visa.

Australia’s Business Skills Program encourages successful business people to settle in Australia and use their proven business attributes to develop business activities in Australia. Business migrants are particularly welcomed if an applicant is capable of or have a strong business background of:

  • Developing international markets.
  • Transferring capital and making investments.
  • Creating or maintaining employment.
  • Exporting Australian goods and services.
  • Introducing new or improved technology.
  • Substituting Australian made products for goods that would otherwise be imported.
  • Adding to commercial activity and competitiveness within sectors of the Australian economy.

Since 01 July 2012 the majority of all Business Skills migrants are required to enter Australia initially on a provisional (temporary) visa for four years three months and, after satisfactory evidence of a specified level of business or investment activity, may apply for permanent residence. These arrangements continue to provide for the entry of business owners, investors, and high net worth applicants.

Currently the five streams of temporary Business Skills visas are:

Business Innovation Stream

To be eligible to apply for this stream you must:

  • Be under 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed business will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory.
  • Score at least 65 on the points test.
  • For two out of the four fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply, you have had an ownership interest in an established business or businesses that had at least AUD$500,000 turnover in each of those years.
  • Own at least one of the following percentage of your nominated main business:
      1. 51% if the business has a turnover of less than AUD$400,000 per year.
      2. 30% if the business has a turnover of less than AUD$400,000 per year.
      3. 10% if the business is a public listed company.
  • Have an overall successful business career.
  • Have a genuine desire to continuously own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia.

The following additional pre-requisites must also be met:

  • If your nominated main business provides professional, technical or trade services, you must have spent no more than half your time providing those services, as opposed to general management of the business.
  • At the time of invitation, you, your partner, or you and your partner combined must have total net business and personal assets of at least AUD$800,000 that are lawfully acquired and available for legal transfer to Australia within two years of the visa being granted.
  • You and your partner must have had no involvement in unacceptable business or investment activities.

Investor Stream

To be eligible to apply for this stream you must:

  • Be under 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed investment will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory.
  • Score at least 65 on the points test.
  • Have a high level of management skill in relation to the eligible investment or qualifying business activity.
  • Have at three years’ experience of direct involvement in managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments.
  • Have an overall successful record of eligible investment or qualifying business activity.
  • Have a genuine and realistic commitment to continuing your business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.
  • Have a genuine intention to live for at least two years in the state or territory in which you have made a designated investment.

You, your partner, or you and your partner combined must:

  • For at least one of the five fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply, have directly managed one of the following:
    1. A qualifying business in which you, your partner or you and your partner combined had at least 10% ownership interest, or
    2. Eligible investments owned by you, your partner or you and your partner of at least AUD$1.5 million.
  • During the two fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply, have legally acquired net business, investment and personal assets of at least AUD$2.25 million that are available for legal transfer to Australia within two years of the visa being granted.
  • Make a designated investment of at least AUD$1.5 million in a state or territory government security using unencumbered funds accumulated from qualifying businesses or eligible investments and be prepared to hold that investment for at least four years from date of issue in your nominating state or territory.
  • You and your partner have had no involvement in unacceptable business or investment activities.

Note: Income that you earn from your designated investment in Australia is subject to tax under Australian taxation law.

Significant Investor Stream

To be eligible to apply for this stream you must have a genuine and realistic commitment to:

  • Reside in the state or territory whose government agency nominated you.
  • Continue your business and investment activity in Australia after the conclusion of your provisional visa when you have obtained your permanent residence.
  • Live in Australia for at least 40 days per year (calculated cumulatively) for the duration of your provisional visa, or your spouse has resided in Australia for at least 180 days per year (calculated cumulatively) for the duration of your provisional visa.

You must make a complying significant investment of at least AUD$5 million over four years 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 investing in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
  • A ‘balancing investment’ of at least AUD$3 million in managed funds that may invest in a range of assets, including ASX-listed companies, Australian corporate bonds or notes, annuities and commercial real estate,

The following additional pre-requisites must also be met:

  • You, your partner, or you and your partner combines must have net assets of at least AUD$5 million that are legally acquired, unencumbered, and available to be used to make complying investments in Australia.
  • You and your partner must not have been involved in unacceptable business or investment activities.
  • You and members of your family over the age of 18 included in your application must agree not to bring any action against the Commonwealth of Australia for any loss to your complying investments.
  • You accept that the income you earn from your complying investments in Australia is subject to tax under Australian taxation law.
  • You accept that your investments must not and cannot be used as security or collateral for a loan.
  • You agree not to make any direct investment in residential real estate although indirect investment through managed funds is strictly limited.
  • You agree to make your complying investment or complying significant investment of at least AUD$5 million over four years.

Important Note: You are advised to seek independent legal advice in relation to ensuring that the investment you made for the purpose of this stream is a ‘complying significant investment.’

Premium Investor Stream

You can apply for the Premium Investor Stream only by nomination of Austrade on behalf of the Australian government only. You must make a complying investment of at least AUD$15 million in any of the following options:

  • Australian securities exchange listed assets.
  • Australian government or semi-government bonds or notes.
  • Corporate bonds or notes issued by an Australian exchange listed entity (or wholly owned subsidiary of the Australian listed entity) or investment grade rated Australian corporate bonds or notes rated by an AFS licenced debt rating agency.
  • Australian proprietary limited companies.
  • Real property in Australia excluding residential property.
  • Deferred annuities issued by Australian registered life companies.
  • State or territory government approved philanthropic contribution.

The following additional pre-requisites must also be met:

  • Income that you earn from your complying investment in Australia is subject to tax under Australian taxation law.
  • You must also have a genuine and realistic commitment to continue your business and investment activity in Australia after you have obtained your permanent residence in Australia.
  • You, your partner, or you and your partner combined must have net assets of at least AUD$15 million that are legally acquired, unencumbered, and available to be used to make your complying investment in Australia.
  • You and your partner must not have been involved in unacceptable business or investment activities previously.
  • You, your partner and any other member of your family over the age of 18 included in your application must agree not to bring any action against the Commonwealth of Australia for any loss to your complying investment.

Entrepreneur Stream

To be eligible for this stream you must:

  • Be under 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed complying entrepreneur activity will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory.
  • Have competent English and be able to provide evidence of this at the time you are invited to apply for the visa.
  • Be undertaking or proposing to undertake a complying entrepreneur activity in Australia and have a genuine intention to continue this activity.

A Complying Entrepreneur Activity is an activity that relates to an innovative idea that will lead to the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia, or the development of an enterprise or business in Australia. This activity must not relate to any of the following excluded categories:

  • Residential real estate.
  • Labour hire.
  • Purchase of an existing enterprise or a franchise in Australia.

An activity is a complying entrepreneur activity if all of the following requirements are met:

  • You have one or more legally enforceable agreements to receive funding with a total of at least AUD$200,000 from one of the following entities:
    1. Commonwealth Government agency.
    2. State or Territory Government.
    3. Publicly Funded Research Organisation.
    4. Investor registered as an Australian Venture Capital Limited Partnership or Early State Venture Capital Limited Partnership.
    5. Specified Higher Education Provided.
  • Under the agreement at least 10 per cent of the funding must be payable to the entrepreneurial entity within 12 months of the day the activity starts to be undertaken in Australia.
  • You held at least 30 per cent interest in your entrepreneurial entity when you entered into the agreement.
  • You have a business plan for the entrepreneurial entity noting how your innovative idea will lead to the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia, or the development of an enterprise or business in Australia.

Important Points to Note

  • All the above 5 streams of visas are initially granted for a period of 4 years and 3 months.
  • Before an application can be lodge you are required to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) together with a successful state or territory nomination to Skill Select.
  • All applicants and members of the family included in the application MUST also meet health and character requirements.
  • English language proficiency requirement is not a requirement except for the Entrepreneur Stream visa application.
  • All primary applicants must be under the age of 55 years of age except for applicants in the Significant Investor Stream and the Premium Investor Stream.
  • Only primary applicants for the Business Innovation Stream and the Investor Stream are point tested and are required to score at least 65 Points in the Points Test.

Conclusion. If an applicant is able to meet all the requirements of any particular category of visa he/she intends to apply for, then he/she is invited to contact James Tan Immigration Consultants by completing the Assessment Form in this website for a proper assessment to determine whether an application should be lodged with the Department of Immigration & Border Protection. This assessment costs only $150.00 and is credited to the applicant’s fees payable if he/she proceeds to instruct us to proceed with an application. In all instances lodgement fees (which can be quite substantial) once paid to the Australian Department of Immigration is non-refundable. Therefore the $150.00 assessment fee paid is money well spent.

Please note that the immigration information provided in this website is a guide only. You are advised to contact James Tan Immigration Consultants or the Department of Immigration & Border Protection for specific answers to any question affecting your case. For a prompt reply to any query with regard to your case you are invited to submit your confidential completed Assessment Form to James Tan Consultants for an accurate and quick assessment of your specific case.

Professional Accreditations