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What were the 24 June 2021 changes to the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (Subclass 188) visa?

By July 14, 2021No Comments

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On 24 June 2021, a number of amendments were made to the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) (Migration Regulations) in relation to the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) (see legislative instrument). This is following 19 May 2021 announcements by the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, the Honourable Alex Hawke, to improve the quality of investments and maximise the economic benefits for Australia.

Specifically, the amendments to the BIIP aim to increase investment and streamline the program as part of the government’s response to support Australia’s economy recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa?

The Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (Subclass 188) (188) visa is a temporary visa aimed at attracting high net worth individuals or successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople. Obtaining a 188 visa is the first step to eventually obtaining permanent residence through the corresponding Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) (Subclass 888) (888) visa.

The 188 visa contains 5 streams:

Stream
Broad purpose

Business Innovation stream

This provisional visa is for people with business skills. It lets you operate a new or existing business in Australia.

Investor stream

This provisional visa requires you to invest at least $2,500,000 in Australian investments that meet certain requirements and maintain business or investment activity in Australia.

Significant Investor stream

This provisional visa is for people who invest at least $5,000,000 in Australian investments that meet certain requirements and maintain investment activity in Australia.

Premium Investor stream

This provisional visa is for people who are nominated by Austrade and who invest at least $15,000,000 in Australian investments and/or philanthropic contributions.

Entrepreneur stream

For startup and early stage entrepreneurs who have been endorsed to develop their concepts and been nominated by a State or Territory government agency.

Depending on the stream, this visa may require nomination by either an Australian State or Territory Government agency and/or Austrade. In addition, these visas are invitation only and require submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI) in SkillSelect.

To read more about the 188 visa and Australia’s investor visa program more broadly, refer to our dedicated page here.

Amendments to the Migration Regulations

The amendments to the Migration Regulations impact any invitations issued from 1 July 2021 onwards. Some of the key eligibility changes to the 188 visa are outlined in the table below:

Relevant stream
Relevant criteria
If invited before 1 July 2021
If invited on or after 1 July 2021

Business innovation stream

Ownership interest/annual turnover value

At least $500,000

At least $750,000

Business innovation stream

Business and personal assets

At least $800,000

At least $1,250,000

Business investor stream

Managed eligible investment

At least $1,500,000

At least $2,500,000

Business investor stream

Business and Personal Assets

At least $2,250,000

 

At least $2,500,000 and a genuine intention to hold investment for the whole visa period

Significant Investor Stream

Complying significant investment

Has the intention to hold the investment for at least four years

Has the intention to hold the investment for the whole of the visa period

The points test has also been updated to reflect the above changes.

There are also helpful changes extending the duration of the visa to 5 years for initial grant (instead of 4 years and 3 months) and more generous periods for extension stream applications.

Conclusion

These changes to the BIIP make the program more challenging due to a greater investment requirement, but also more appealing to potential applicants given the longer visa grant periods. This longer period of time for proposed investment into Australia can aid Australia’s economic recovery while simultaneously giving complying applicants a simpler pathway to permanent residency.

If you have any questions relating to these recent changes, or have any other immigration related queries, get in touch with our experienced team. Contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone at +61 3 9016 0484.

This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an immigration professional for up to date information.
Emily Young

Author Emily Young

Emily completed her Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from Bond University in 2019, and is busy building her legal knowledge across the entire Australian immigration law framework. She's passionate about global mobility and social issues, having previously worked on matters regarding international parental child abduction, volunteered for Camp Quality, and even set foot in North Korea!

More posts by Emily Young

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