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 and is a popular option for higher net worth individuals, or even business owners as an alternative to a business visa.

How The Investor Stream Works

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

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

The visa itself, regardless of which one you choose is a provisional visa, which with certain stay requirements can be converted into a permanent residency.

Pre Qualifications

Each visa will check varying levels of a combination of the below items.


For either the investor or premium investor visa, the age limits is 55 years old. However different states can waive this requirement in exchange for a higher level of investment.

The premium investor visa does not have an age limit.

Net Assets

Depending on which visa stream, this amount varies. The lowest option would be $AUD2.25 million in net assets. This can be any combination of property, cash, shares, bonds 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.

Management Of Eligible Investments

There has been some confusion on this part with people I have spoken to. For example, for the investor stream (A) in the bullet points above, it says you must have ‘eligible investments owned by you, your partner or you and your partner combined of at least AUD1.5 million.’ which have been actively managed by you and your partner.

This has been explained in the past as making investment gains of AUD1.5 million, which is incorrect – it should be interpreted as managing the net value of investments worth at least AUD1.5 million, which is illustrated below.

  • Bonds – AUD500,000
  • Shares – AUD500,000
  • Property investment – AUD500,000
  • Total investments – AUD1,500,000

This example above would satisfy the eligible investments requirement for the investor stream visa.

Designated Investment

Each visa stream requires a different investment amount, varying from 1.5, 5 and 15 million AUD into complying investments in Australia.

This could be state/ territory bonds, venture capital, growth and property funds as well as others.

For example, the significant investor visa requires investments of:

  • At least AUD500 000 in venture capital and growth private equity funds which invest in start-ups and small private companies.
  • At least AUD1.5 million in approved managed funds investing in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
  • A ‘balancing investment’ of at least AUD3 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 investment must remain in the approved funds for a duration set out by the Australian government.

What The 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.

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