Australia: New visa pathway for entrepreneurs

Qualified entrepreneurs with financial backing and successful entrepreneurial activities will be eligible for a new visa pathway in the Business Innovation and Investment Visa program on September 10, 2016.

The new visa pathway for entrepreneurs – which will be part of the existing Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa – is part of a 2015 effort to support scientific innovation in Australia. Key criteria of the visa include:

  • Meeting prescribed English language requirements;
  • Being under 55 years of age (with some exceptions);
  • Nomination by an Australian agency;
  • Involvement with an entrepreneurial venture that relates to an innovative idea that is proposed to lead to commercialisation of a product or service in Australia or the development of an enterprise or business in Australia (with some exclusions);
  • At least AU 200,000 in funding from investors in Australia secured through legally enforceable agreement(s);
  • If the applicant is not the entrepreneurial entity, the applicant must personally hold at least a 30% ownership share in the entrepreneurial entity; and
  • At least 10% of the funding must be payable within 12 months from when the activity starts in Australia.

The visa will allow holders to enter and remain in Australia for four years and three months. The visa provides a pathway to a permanent Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 888) visa if the applicant resides in Australia for at least two of the four years while holding the subclass 188 visa and demonstrates an overall successful record of undertaking activities of an entrepreneurial nature in Australia (based on certain factors).

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Foreign entrepreneurs should benefit from the new visa pathway and should contact their immigration professional to discuss the application process and eligibility criteria.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK