888 Business Permanent Visas and Role Swapping

Do you hold a Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa in the Business Innovation or Investor stream? Did you lodge your 188 visa with your spouse as a secondary applicant? Are you wondering how you can change your spouse to be the main applicant when applying for the Subclass 888 Business Permanent Visa? Here is an explainer of Role Swapping and when it is permitted.

What is Role Swapping?

“Role swapping” is where the Business Innovation and Investment (Subclass 188) visa secondary visa holder applies as the Business Innovation and Investment (Subclass 888) primary applicant.

When is Role Swapping permitted?

Role swapping is only permitted for two streams of the Business Permanent Visa – Subclass 888:

  • Business Innovation stream; and
  • Investor stream

How does Role Swapping work?

Role swapping occurs when two applicants, the primary applicant, and the secondary applicant (usually the primary applicant’s spouse), who are approved for a Subclass 188 Business Provisional Visa wish to change their applicant status. The secondary applicant, as the spouse, wishes to become the main applicant when applying for the Subclass 888 Business Permanent Visa. In turn, the original primary applicant for the 188 visa then becomes the secondary applicant for the 888 visa.

What happens if applicants want to role swap whilst on the Subclass 188 Business Provisional Visa?

Applicants can only role swap when they are changing visa types from the Subclass 188 – Business Provisional Visa to the Subclass 888 – Business Permanent Visa. For the Business Innovation and Investor streams, the primary applicant must be the person who is invited in writing to apply. As it was the primary applicant who was invited, the spouse cannot be made the primary applicant; if applicants wish to swap roles, a new EOI and a new subclass 188 visa application will be required.

Are there additional requirements to utilise Role Swapping?

If you are intending to role swap when applying for the Subclass 888 – Business Permanent Visa, the previous secondary applicant who wishes to become the primary applicant must meet all the primary criteria of the visa.

888 visa Basic Requirements

The general criteria for a subclass 888 visa are as follow:

  • Hold the relevant visa, i.e., subclass 188 visa.
  • Your state nomination must be current.
  • For the 2 years before you apply for the subclass 888 visa, you must own and manage a business in Australia.
  • Have an annual business turnover of $300,000 in the 12 months immediately before the application was made.
  • You must show at least 2 of the following:
    • assets of AUD200,000 net value in your main business (or 2 main businesses) in Australia
    • personal and business assets in Australia of AUD600,000 net value
    • equivalent of at least 2 full-time eligible employees in your main business
  • Complied with Australian law when operating the business.
  • Have functional English.
  • Must be in Australia for at least 1 in the 2 years immediately before you apply.
  • Not involved in unacceptable business activities.
  • Have a realistic commitment to continuing the business.
  • Meet health and character requirements.

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