In reference to the recent update by the Ministry of Home Affairs, 17 December 2020, the government is reforming business and investor visas to maximise the economic benefits for Australia. There would be changes stated below in terms of visa streams and eligibility requirements.

This indicates the best time and opportunity for investors and business owners to consider their migration planning at the earliest before the year ending 2020 to fully benefit from the current program. Contact our Registered Migration Agent to find out what are your possible pathway and action plans for your migration.

Read more below for the recent changes…


Overview of the Business Innovation and Investment program (BIIP)

  • Australia’s Business Innovation and Investment program (BIIP) targets migrants who have a demonstrated history of success or talent in innovation, investment and business and are able to make a significant contribution to the national innovation system and the Australian economy.

  • Within the BIIP, there are provisional and permanent visa options for:

    • Business people with a range of business skills who want to establish, develop and manage a new or existing business in Australia.

    • Entrepreneurs who have a funding agreement from a third party to undertake an entrepreneur activity that is proposed to lead to either the commercialisation of a product or service or the development of a promising, high-value business in Australia.

    • Investors who want to make a specified investment in the Australian economy and maintain business and investment activities in Australia.

  • The majority of BIIP migrants enter Australia on a provisional visa for a minimum of four years. After this period they can apply for a permanent visa if they can demonstrate they have fulfilled the requirements. An extension of the provisional period is available for two streams.

  • The BIIP has continued to fill it’s allocated Migration Program places. Since 2014-15 places were set at 7,260, places were reduced in 2019-20 to 6,862, and increased to 13,500 in 2020-21.

  • The BIIP made up 4.6% of the Skilled stream grants in 2019-20.

  • The current program was created in 2012, to replace the previous Business Skills program. At this time the direct to permanent Business Talent streams were retained, but the provisional to permanent pathway was substantially altered, removing the independent streams to focus on a State and Territory nominated program.

  • The top ten nationalities for BIIP grants are: China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Iran, Hong Kong, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, United Kingdom and Taiwan.

The Government will put in place measures to ensure the BIIP is well-placed to support Australia’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery by maximising its economic contribution. Key changes (in effect from July 2021):

  • From 1 July 2021, the program will be simplified from nine to four visa streams: Business Innovation, Entrepreneur, Investor, and Significant Investor. There will be a clear pathway to permanent residency for each category.

  • The Premium Investor, Significant Business History and Venture Capital Entrepreneur visas will be closed to new applications from 1 July 2021. Applications already lodged for these visas will still be processed.

  • Provisional visa holders in all four streams will be able to apply for permanent residence if they meet the requirements after three years, but the provisional visa will now be valid for five years, meaning they have additional time to meet the requirements.

  • Business Innovation and Significant Investor visa holders will also continue to be able to extend their provisional visas if they do not meet the business and residence thresholds in the required timeframes.

    • Business Innovation provisional visa holders can apply for a two year extension provided they demonstrate a realistic commitment to continuing to manage a business that has been actively operating in Australia for the previous two years.

    • Significant Investor provisional visa holders can apply for two 2 year extensions provided they continue to maintain their complying significant investment.

  • The requirements for Business Innovation visa holders will be increased to ensure the program is attracting migrants with proven business skills. Business Innovation visa holders will be required to hold business assets of $1.25 million (up from $800,000) and have an annual turnover of $750,000 (up from $500,000) to prove their business acumen.

  • The $200,000 funding threshold required for Entrepreneur visa applicants will be scrapped, but applicants will need to be endorsed by a State or Territory government.

  • The Government will also be consulting widely with industry to inform changes to the Complying Investment Framework.

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