In line with an overarching goal to use Australia’s migration program to maximise economic value to Australia, on 17 December 2020 Acting Minister Tudge announced changes to the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) to come into effect from 1 July 2021. In 2019-20, 6,862 visa places were allocated to the BIIP, representing 6.3% of the skill stream of the overall migration program.
The full media release is available here.
For further information around the current Business Innovation and Investment Program refer to here.
What are the streams?
The new program will be reduced to four instead of nine streams:
- Business Innovation
- Significant Investor
The existing 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.
Each category will have a clear pathway to permanent residency.
What are the common changes to the remaining streams?
There will be a clear path to permanent residency or each category.
If granted, provisional visas will now be valid for five years with provisional visa holders in all four streams able to apply for permanent residence if they meet the requirements after three years. This extends the period of time visa holders have to meet the permanent residence eligibility requirements.
There will be further consultations on changes to the Complying Investment Framework in the first half of 2021, to give sufficient time for businesses and investors to adjust.
What are the changes to the Business Innovation visas?
Business Innovation visa holders will continue to be able to extend their provisional visas if they do not meet the business and residence thresholds in the required timeframe.
Business Innovation provisional visa holders can apply for a single 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.
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 increased 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.
What are the changes to the Significant Investor visas?
Significant Investor visa holders will continue to be able to extend their provisional visas if they do not meet the business and residence thresholds in the required timeframe.
Significant Investor provisional visa holders can apply for two x two-year extensions provided they continue to maintain their complying significant investment.
What are the changes to the Entrepreneur Visas?
The $200,000 funding threshold required for Entrepreneur visa applicants will be scrapped.
Entrepreneur visa applicants will need to be endorsed by a State or Territory government. This follows the successful Supporting Innovation in South Australia pilot program and will give states and territories an additional way to attract international entrepreneurs.
If you seek further information about the BIIP, or general questions about Australian immigration program, please email our general query inbox at [email protected] or call us on +61 3 9016 0484.