Australia’s Business Skills Migration (BSM) Program encourages successful business people to settle in Australia and use their proven business attributes to develop business activity in Australia including:
- establish a business in Australia;
- manage a new or existing business;
- invest in Australia.
The program facilitates the migration of overseas business owners, senior managers, executives and investors.
Business migrants are welcomed if you can demonstrate a strong business background of:
- creating or maintaining employment
- introducing new or improved technology
- transferring capital and making investments
- developing international markets
- substituting Australian-made products for goods that would otherwise be imported
- exporting Australian goods and services, and
- adding to commercial activity and competitiveness within sectors of the Australian economy.
Structure of Business Skills Migration Program
The majority of all Business Skills migrants enter Australia initially on a provisional (temporary) visa for four years and, after satisfactory evidence of a specified level of business or investment activity, may apply for permanent residence.
The pathway to permanent residence is designed to give clarity and certainty to provisional business migrants and relies upon the establishment and management of genuine business activity in Australia.
High calibre business migrants may apply for a Business Talent visa to obtain direct permanent residence if they have high level business attributes and are sponsored by a state or territory government agency.
The BSM program encourages Business Skills entrants to set up businesses in regional, rural or low growth areas of Australia.
Applicants may seek sponsorship from a state or territory government. Sponsorship enables states and territories to attract the kinds of business people they are seeking to assist in the economic development of their specific areas and provides access to concessional criteria.
There are a number of options for Business Skills applicants including:
- Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (subclass 188) visa
- Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) (subclass 888) visa
Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (Subclass 188) Visa
This visa is available by invitation only. Before being invited to apply, you must first lodge an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)
This Expression of Interest must specify whether you are interested in the Business Innovation stream or the Investor stream. You must also indicate whether you are interested in just one or all states and territories. No supporting documentation is required at this time.
When your Expression of Interest is in SkillSelect, it can be viewed and a state or territory can decide whether to nominate you to apply for a visa. States and territories have their own criteria for deciding who they might nominate. In most cases, and before you are nominated, the relevant state or territory will contact you to discuss business possibilities.
Following the lodgment of the EOI and the nomination from a state or territory government, DIBP will assess your EOI and if successful will invite you to apply for a visa.
If you are invited to apply for a provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188), you will then have 60 days in which to lodge your online application. You can be in or outside Australia when you lodge.
Your application is likely to require extensive supporting documentation, including records and evidence relating to your:
- work experience
- educational background
- English skills
- business and investment experience.
You are urged to start compiling these documents early in the process—even before you lodge an Expression of Interest.
You can be invited twice. If, after the second invitation, you do not submit a complete application within the allowed timeframe, the offer will be withdrawn and your Expression of Interest will be deleted from SkillSelect. If you want to be considered in future, you will need to submit a new Expression of Interest.
Business Innovation and Investment Provisional applicants are business people establishing a business in Australia, managing a new or existing business or investing in Australia.
Business skilled provisional visas are temporary residence visas providing a pathway to Business Skilled Permanent Residence Visas.
The visa has two streams.
- The Business Innovation stream is for people who want to own and manage a new or existing business in Australia.
- The Investor stream is for people who want to make a designated investment in an Australian state or territory and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.
You must be less than 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed business will be of exceptional economic benefit to the relevant region.
You must score at least 65 on the Innovation Points test. Points are awarded for:
- English language ability
- experience in business or investments
- net personal and business assets
- business turnover
On rare occasions, the nominating state or territory government can award you 10 points towards the test because they think your proposed business is of exceptional economic benefit to them.
Other requirements depend on whether you apply for the Business Innovation stream or the Investor stream.
Business Innovation stream
If you apply for the Business Innovation stream, you (or your partner, or you and your partner combined) must have:
- total assets of at least AUD800 000 that have been legally acquired and can be legally transferred to Australia within two years of the visa being granted
- a total annual turnover of at least AUD500 000 (in one of more of your businesses) in at least two of the four fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply
- owned at least:
- 51 per cent of a business with turnover of less than AUD400 000 per annum, or
- 30 per cent of a business with turnover of more than AUD400 000 per annum, or
- 10 per cent of a publicly-listed company
- an overall successful business career with no involvement in unacceptable business activities
- managed a business, in which you spent less than half your time on professional, technical or trade services
- a strong desire to own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia.
If you apply for the Investor stream, you (or your partner, or you and your partner combined) must:
- have a net value of at least AUD2.25 million for the two fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply
- have an overall successful record of eligible investment or qualifying business activity with no involvement in unacceptable activities
- have a high level of management skill in relation to eligible investments and/or qualifying business activity
- have at least three years' experience of direct involvement in managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments
- make your government-approved designated investment before a visa can be granted
- have a genuine and realistic commitment to continuing your business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.
You (or your partner, or you and your partner combined) must also have had one of the following:
- direct involvement, for at least one of the five fiscal years you are invited to apply, in managing your eligible investments that total at least AUD1.5 million, or
- direct involvement, for at least one of the five fiscal years before you are invited to apply, in managing a qualifying business in which you owned at least 10 per cent of the total value of the business.
Applications are by invitation only. To be invited to apply, a person must:
- lodge a SkillSelect Expression of Interest (EOI)
- be nominated by a state or territory government
- be less than 55 years of age
- have a successful business and/or investment history
- have adequate personal and business assets
- score at least 65 points on the innovation points test.
You must lodge your visa application through SkillSelect. This can be done while you are in or outside Australia. You must pay the initial visa application charge of $4,065 by credit card at that time.
A second visa application charge, that applies only to applicants and dependants aged 18 years or over with less than functional English, is payable before a visa can be granted.
As part of lodging your visa application, you must confirm that you agree with the Australian Values Statement and have read, or had explained to you, the Life in Australia book.
Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) (Subclass 888) Visa
The visa has two streams:
- the Business Innovation stream is for people who own and manage a business in Australia.
- the Investor stream is for people who have a designated investment in an Australian state or territory and want to maintain business and/or investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.
People can apply if they:
- hold a provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa
- have met the requirements of that visa (including the specific requirements for the stream in which they first applied)
- are nominated by a state or territory.
You must lodge your application online. This can be done while you are in or outside Australia. You must pay the initial application charge of AUD1960 by credit card at that time.
A second charge may be payable before a visa can be granted. This applies only to dependants with less than functional English, who did not pay this charge in relation to a provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa application and who are 18 years of age or older.
As part of lodging your application, you must again confirm that you agree with the Australian Values Statement and have read, or had explained to you, the Life in Australia book.
We recommend a professional consultation to discuss the abovementioned information and to review your eligibility.
A professional consultation will enable us to explain the process comprehensively, appropriate options and strategies, timelines and costs and your prospects of success.
Please refer to consultation page.