Business and Investment Visas Changes 2021- Australia Immigration

May 2021 update on Australian Business visa changes:

From 1 July 2021 the following Complying Investment Framework (CIF) ratios will apply to both the Investor and the Significant Investor streams:

  • 20 per cent venture capital and Private Growth Equity funds (VCPE)
  • 30 per cent funds investing in emerging companies
  • 50 per cent in balancing investments

Key changes that come into effect from 1 July 2021:

  • the investment amount for the Investor stream will increase from $1.5 million to $2.5 million.
  • the investment amount for the Significant Investor stream will remain at $5 million
  • the CIF will be applied to both investment streams—Investor and Significant Investor
  • the venture capital and private equity component of the CIF will be increased from 10 to 20 per cent, with a further 30 per cent dedicated to emerging companies
  • the balancing investment component will be reduced from 60 to 50 percent
  • funds will be required to provide annual independent audit reports showing their compliance with the CIF.
  • the use of Fund of Funds, debentures and derivatives will be clarified in the CIF.

Business Innovation and Investment Program changes announced

The Morrison Government is reforming business and investor visas to maximise the economic benefits for Australia.

The Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) will be simplified from nine to four streams and there will be changes to eligibility requirements.  The number of places available in the BIIP has almost doubled from 6862 in 2019-20 to 13,500 places for 2020-2021.

The new program will be reduced to the below four streams:

  • Business Innovation
  • Entrepreneur
  • Investor
  • Significant Investor
Changes to these streams include:
  • Provisional visa holders in all four streams will be able to apply for permanent residence if they meet the requirements after 3 years, but the provisional visa will now be valid for 5 years (currently 4 years), meaning they have additional time to meet the requirements.
  • There will be a clear path to permanent residency or each category.
  • The Government will also be consulting widely with industry to inform any further changes to the Complying Investment Framework. Any changes to the framework will be announced in the early half of next year, with sufficient time for businesses and investors to adjust.

Business Innovation visas

  • Business Innovation and Significant Investor visa holders will also 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 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 business and personal 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.

Significant Investor visas

  • Significant Investor visa holders will also 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, two-year extensions (2×2) provided they continue to maintain their complying significant investment.

Entrepreneur Visas

  • The $200,000 funding threshold required for Entrepreneur visa applicants will be scrapped.
  • 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.
Streams closing 1 July 2021

The following BIIP streams will be closed for new applications from 1 July 2021 are (Applications already lodged for these visas will still be processed):

  • Premium Investor
  • Significant Business History
  • Venture Capital Entrepreneur
Summary of changes implemented on 1 July 2021
Previous BIIP Streamlined BIIP from 1 July 2021
Entry Stream Key requirement Stream Key requirement~
Investor (subclass 188) •    Designated Investment of $1.5 million (for four years)

•    Invested in a state or territory government bond

•    65 points on business innovation and investment points test

•    Nominated by a State or Territory government

Investor (subclass 188) •    Complying Investment of $2.5 million (held for the duration of the provisional visa)

•    65 points on business innovation and investment points test

•    Functional English (or pay 2nd VAC)

•    Under 55 (unless waived by nominator)

•    Reside in Australia for at least two years

•    Nominated by a State or Territory government

Significant Investor (subclass 188) •    Significant Investment of $5 million (for four years):

•    10% in Venture Capital

•    30% in Emerging Businesses

•    60% balancing investment

•    Nominated by a State or Territory government, or Austrade

Significant Investor (subclass 188) •    Complying Investment of $5 million (held for the duration of the provisional visa)

•    Functional English (or pay 2nd VAC)

•    Reside in Australia for an average of 40 days/year for primary visa holders or 180 days per/year for secondary visa holders before applying for the permanent visa

•    Has access to an extension stream (for up to 4 years)

•    Nominated by a State or Territory government, or Austrade

Premium

Investor (subclass 188)

•    Premium Investment of $15 million (for one year)

•    Nominated by Austrade

Business Innovation (subclass 188) •    Minimum net assets of $800,000

•    Owned a business with $500,000 annual turnover

•    65 points on business innovation and investment points test

•    Nominated by a State or Territory government

Business Innovation (subclass 188) •    Minimum net assets of $1,250,000

•    Owned a business with $750,000 annual turnover

•    65 points on business innovation and investment points test

•    Functional English (or pay 2nd VAC)

•    Under 55 (unless waived by nominator)

•    Reside in Australia for at least one year

•    Has access to an extension stream (for up to 2 years)

•    Nominated by a State or Territory government

Significant Business History* (subclass 132) •    Have $1.5 million in net assets and owned a business with

$3 million in annual turnover

•    Nominated by a State or Territory government

Entrepreneur (subclass 188) •    Have an agreement in place with an approved third party funding body for at least $200,000

•    Nominated by a State or Territory government

Entrepreneur (subclass 188) •    Endorsement by a state or territory government and service providers in state and territory innovation ecosystems

•    Competent English

•    Under 55 (unless waived by nominator)

•    Reside in Australia for at least two years

Venture Capital Entrepreneur* (subclass 132) •    Have an agreement in place with an approved third party funding body for at least $1 million

•    Nominated by a State or Territory government

~ Applicants will be able to apply for permanent residence after holding the 188 for 3 years if all requirements. Their initial subclass 188 visa will be valid for 5 years

* Direct to permanent streams will no longer be offered

Changes to the Complying Investment Framework (CIF)
Previous Investment Investment required from 1 July 2021
Entry Stream Key requirement Stream Key requirement
Investor •    Designated Investment of $1.5 million (for four years)

•    Invested in a state or territory government bond

Investor •    Complying Investment of $2.5 million (held for the duration of the provisional visa):

•    20% in Venture Capital ($500,000)

•    30% in Emerging Businesses ($750,000)

•    Up to 50% balancing investment ($1,250,000)

Significant Investor •    Significant Investment of $5 million (for four years):

•    10% in Venture Capital

•    30% in Emerging Businesses

•    60% balancing investment

Significant Investor •    Complying Investment of $5 million (held for the duration of the provisional visa):

•    20% in Venture Capital ($1,000,000)

•    30% in Emerging Businesses ($1,500,000) Up to 50% balancing investment ($2,500,000)

The following improvements will be also be made to the CIF from 1 July 2021.

Measure Previous State/ Issue From 1 July 2021
Define Fund of Funds Currently Fund of Funds is referred to in the general requirements of the instrument but is not defined. The definition of Fund of Fund will be:

i.        A ‘fund of funds’ is generally a managed investment fund that invests in other funds.

ii.        an investor is permitted to invest in managed investment funds through a fund of funds or investor directed portfolio service provided the managed investment fund(s) in which the a fund of funds or investor directed

portfolio service invests comply with the other requirements of the complying investment framework.

VCPE

agreement time

Currently applicants are given up to 12 months to enter into their Venture Capital and Private Growth Equity (VCPE) funds agreement. Applicants will be given 6 months to enter into their VCPE agreement.
Emerging companies debentures Ensure the emerging companies investment is made into securities that properly meet the market capitalisation requirements for the emerging companies component of the CIF. The investment must not be made in:

i.        securities issued or proposed to be issued by a government; or

ii.        debentures; or

iii.        securities that otherwise meet the requirements under this section but where the issuer of those securities invests the proceeds of the issue of those securities in securities that do not meet the market capitalisation requirements.

Note: For example, a small exchange traded fund which invests in the securities of large capitalised companies is

excluded under this paragraph.

Clarify use of derivatives Specify that complying investments may only be made in a derivative if the investment is not designed to substantially reduce or completely eliminate the exposure of an investor to the risk of loss from changes in the market price of an investment. An investment may be made in a derivative, only if:

a.       the investment is made for risk management purposes; and

b.       the investment is not a speculative investment; and

c.       the investment is not designed to materially reduce or completely eliminate the exposure of an investor to the risk of loss from changes in the market price of an emerging companies investment.

Note: Hedging of currency and interest rate risks will be permitted under Emerging Companies, however capital

guarantee products will be prohibited.

Clarify use of VCPE fund of funds Current CIF only specifies Fund of Funds use for managed investment funds. Add “Venture capital fund” to the following definition:

Managed investment fund and venture capital fund investment —fund of funds or investor directed portfolio services. An investment in a managed investment fund or venture capital fund may be:

a.     made through a fund of funds or an investor directed portfolio service, if the investment is otherwise in accordance with the requirements of this Part; and

b.     held in cash in the fund of funds, or investor directed portfolio service:

i.        for a period of up to 30 days after the time the funds are first made available for investment; and

ii.        during any switching period mentioned in the Regulations.

Annual audits Fund managers should be required to have an annual audit of their CIF compliance completed and a copy of this report attached to each Investor visa (IV) or Significant Investor visa (SIV) application at both the provisional (subclass 188) and permanent (subclass 888)

stages

Fund managers will need to complete an annual audit for all of the funds they manage. A copy of the annual audit will need to be provided to each of their IV and SIV clients, so they can attach it to their visa applications.

The audit report will be required by the Department of Home Affairs before the time of decision for the visa application.

Changes to the Business Innovation and Investment Points Test

The requirements below have been updated to align with the overall changes to the Business Innovation and Investor streams. All other aspects of the Business Innovation and Investment points test are unchanged.

Item Previous requirement From 1 July 2021 Points
Investor experience qualifications—Investor stream only
7A61 held eligible investments which had a value of not less than AUD100 000 for

not less than 4 years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa

held eligible investments which had a value of not less than AUD250 000 for

not less than 4 years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa

10
7A62 held eligible investments which had a value of not less than AUD100 000 for not less than 7 years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the

visa

held eligible investments which had a value of not less than AUD250 000 for not less than 7 years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the

visa

15
Financial asset qualifications
7A71 not less than AUD800 000 in each of the 2 fiscal years immediately before the

time of invitation to apply for the visa

not less than AUD1 250 000 in each of the 2 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa 5
7A72 not less than AUD1 300 000 in each of the 2 fiscal years immediately before

the time of invitation to apply for the visa

not less than AUD1 750 000 in each of the 2 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa 15
7A73 not less than AUD1 800 000 in each of the 2 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa not less than AUD2 250 000 in each of the 2 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa 25
7A74 not less than AUD2 250 000 in each of the 2 fiscal years immediately before

the time of invitation to apply for the visa

not less than AUD2 750 000 in each of the 2 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa 35
Business turnover qualifications
7A81 not less than AUD500 000 in at least 2 of the 4 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa not less than AUD750 000 in at least 2 of the 4 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa 5
7A82 not less than AUD1 000 000 in at least 2 of the 4 fiscal years immediately

before the time of invitation to apply for the visa

not less than AUD1 250 000 in at least 2 of the 4 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa 15
7A83 not less than AUD1 500 000 in at least 2 of the 4 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa not less than AUD1 750 000 in at least 2 of the 4 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa 25
7A84 not less than AUD2 000 000 in at least 2 of the 4 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa not less than AUD2 250 000 in at least 2 of the 4 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa 35

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