Cryptocurrency and Australian Business Visas

The most common way to qualify for an investment visa is to apply for the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (Subclass 188) – Investor Stream. To be eligible for the visa, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Be nominated by an Australian State or Territory.
  • You must directly manage a qualifying business or an eligible investment of at least AUD1.5 million.
  • Have assets of AUD2.25 million.
  • After you have applied, you must make a designated investment of at least AUD1.5 million in the nominating State or Territory.
  • You are required to have at least three years of experience in managing businesses or investments.
  • Score at least 65 points.
  • Be under 55 years old.
  • Have functional English.
  • Meet health and character requirements.

Is Cryptocurrency an eligible investment?

Eligible investment is defined in regulation 118.112 and 118.113. Eligible investments include:

  • An ownership interest in a business
  • Cash on deposit
  • Stocks or bonds
  • Real estate
  • Gold or silver bullion
  • Loans to a business

As the regulations explicitly state the above, cryptocurrency is not considered an eligible investment by the Department of Home Affairs for migration purposes. Cryptocurrency also cannot be included as a personal asset.

According to the policy, cryptocurrency is not allowed be used as a source of funds or assets. The rule for investor visas is that before the ‘final processing of the visa, the applicant needs to provide a letter explaining ‘how’ he/she will make a designated investment of AUD1.5 million and evidence that the proposed funds were ‘sourced’ (accumulated) from eligible investments must be provided.

As such, for migration purposes, eligible investment only includes traditional investments as listed above.

Bitcoin as digital currency is not regulated under ASIC and cannot be accepted as a way to transfer funds for the complying significant investment.  The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is unable to track digital currencies therefore DHA are not able to verify that the funds are lawful.  Any funds which cannot be traced to ensure lawfulness cannot be considered in Business Innovation and Investment program visas.

In regards to  the Business Investor stream, the applicant must meet the below regulation. The funds used to make the designated investment can either be accumulated from one or more qualifying business and/or the eligible investment activities of the applicant. If the applicant is to liquidate his entire investment assets, the declared total sum accumulated must be evidenced accordingly for the delegate’s assessment.

It is up to the applicant on how they chose to accumulate the funds for the designated investment though it must be unencumbered funds and would not include the original capital investment.

188.246

(2)   The funds used to make the designated investment mentioned in subclause (1) were:

(a)      unencumbered; and

(b)      accumulated from either or both of:

(i)      one or more qualifying businesses conducted by the applicant, the applicant’s spouse or de facto partner, or the applicant and his or her spouse or de facto partner together; and

(ii)      eligible investment activities of the applicant, the applicant’s spouse or de facto partner, or the applicant and his or her spouse or de facto partner together.

The intention of 188.246 is to ensure that the funds deposited in the designated investment:

  • were generated through the qualifying business or eligible investment activity of the applicant and/or their spouse or de facto partner (this may include personal assets, provided those assets can be shown to have been acquired through funds accumulated from the business or investment activities of the applicant (and/or their spouse or de facto partner)) and
  • were not accumulated from illegal activities and
  • were owned by the applicant (and/or their spouse or de facto partner) and were not borrowed.

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