Every country has in some form or another, an investor-linked visa system – Australia’s investor visa stream is no different. For a defined amount of investment, you can qualify for a visa to live, work and even open a business in Australia.

Australia’s investor migration program is one of the most popular investment-linked programs in the entire world, with over over 10,000 applications made in any given year.

Popular for higher net worth individuals, or even business owners as an alternative to a business visa.

Update: As of July 1st 2021, the investor migration program has undergone a complete transformation, which was announced early in 2021. This includes an increase in minimum criteria to qualify for the program, how much you need to invest and how your investment is managed. We have updated this article to reflect these changes.

How Australia’s Investor Visa Streams Work

There are 3 types of investor visa, each under the same visa class but under a different stream. In essence this visa class gives you multiple options to qualify, with different conditions for each.

The visa itself is called the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) and has 3 investor stream as shown below:

  1. Investor stream
  2. Significant investor stream
  3. Premium investor stream (no longer available)

Each visa has 2 stages – pre qualification followed by an investment component.

You can apply for any stream you qualify for, note however that each stream has different prerequisites as well as investment amounts you must commit to.

Does An Investor Visa Get You Permanent Residency?

When you apply for an investor visa you are applying for a provisional residency, which can be converted to permanent residency once certain stay requirements are met.

This ensures that only people committed to living in Australia and maintaining their investments are given the option to become permanent residents.

The 2 criteria are summarised in the table further down this article.

How Do You Qualify For A Subclass 188 Investor Visa?

Each visa stream requires slightly different qualification criteria, from age, net assets to points score. We’ve summarised them below with the most important requirements.

Age

The is an age limit for the investor stream of 55 years old, however there are options to ask for a waiver, or swap to a spouse/partner if they are below 55 years old.

For the significant investor stream, there is no age limit.

Net Assets

Your net assets can be any combination of property, cash, shares, bonds, business assets and other assets in the name of either yourself or your spouse/ partner or combined.

These net assets must be legally acquired – this prevents the inflow of money from criminal proceeds and terrorism and they must be able to be valued by a professional, in most cases it is the list of assets above, however policy does allow for other types of assets, including rare win collection, rare cars etc.

  • Investor stream: AUD$2.5m or equivalent in your local currency, held anywhere in the world. Must have been held in your name or your spouse for at least the last 2 years.
  • Significant investor steam: AUD$5m or equivalent in your local currency, held anywhere in the world.

Management Of Eligible Investments

You or your spouse, or both of you combined have managed a certain amount in investments for a minimum of 1 year in the last 5 years as described below:

  • Investor stream: AUD$2.5m in investments
  • Significant investor stream: no minimum requirement.

How Much Do I Need To Invest For Each Investor Stream?

Each visa stream requires a different investment amount, varying from 2.5 to 5 million AUD into complying investments in Australia.

As of July 1st 2021, this was broken down specifically into approved allocations which must be invested into approved fund managers in Australia as shown below.

Australia Investor Visa - Subclass 188B Complying Investments
  • 20% in venture capital and growth private equity funds which invest in start-ups and small private companies.
  • 30% in approved managed funds investing in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
  • 50% into a ‘balancing investment’ 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.

Multiply the percentages above by the required investment amount of AUD$2.5m (investor stream) or AUD$5m (significant investor stream) and you’ll get exactly how much the investment is broken up into.

The investment must remain in the approved funds for a duration set out by the Australian government.

What This Visa Allows You To Do

This visa is a provisional visa, allowing you to live, work and even start a business in Australia.

After fulfilling certain stay requirements and minimum hold durations for your investments (it varies depending on the visa stream you applied for) you can apply to have your provisional visa converted to a permanent visa.

The stay requirement can be fulfilled by the spouse of an applicant, for example of the main applicant needs to remain overseas to continue running their business or for work reasons, their spouse may move over to Australia first with their children to fulfil the stay requirements – this will then allow the main applicant to convert his/ her provisional visa into a permanent one.

The home affairs website has more information on all the above, although it is fragmented and complex. Contact us if you would like a simpler break down for your situation.

Investor Visa Summary Table

We’ve summarised the requirements into the 2 tables below for a quick reference.

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (Subclass 188) – Investor Stream
Assets Required:
  • AUD$2.5 million (or equivalent) for 2 fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply
  • Assets can be held in your name or you and your spouse combined
Investment:
  • AUD$2.5 million will be invested into complying investments
Below 55 years old (age waivers are possible)
65 points or more on the investor points test
You will need to be nominated by a state or territory government
This visa is valid for 5 years. You and your family can live in Australia during this period. Upon fulfilling certain criteria within this period you can convert it to permanent residency.
Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (Subclass 188) – Significant Investor Stream
Assets Required:
  • AUD$5 million (or equivalent)
  • Assets can be held in your name or you and your spouse combined
Investment:
  • AUD$5 million will be invested into complying investments
No age limit
You will need to be nominated by a state or territory government
This visa is valid for 5 years*. You and your family can live in Australia during this period. Upon fulfilling certain criteria within this period you can convert it to permanent residency.

*A further 4 years extension may be possible once this visa has been granted

Do I Qualify To Migrate To Australia?

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