Category: Business visas

Long-Term Australian Business Visa for Singaporean Nationals

New Long-Term Australian Business Visa for Singaporean Nationals

The Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced a new long-term Australian Business visa for Singaporean nationals during his recent official visit to Singapore earlier this month.

Singaporeans will have exclusive access to a new long-term, multiple-entry visa option by 1 January 2018. This will render it easier for Singaporean nationals to travel to Australia for business and tourism.

The long-term visa will be a separate stream within the Visitor (Subclass 600) visa and will allow eligible Singaporean nationals to travel to Australia for up to three months at a time over a six-year period, with a single application.

In addition to the new long-term business visa, Prime Minister Turnbull announced a new reciprocal arrangement with the Singaporean Government to extend the Work and Holiday visa program. This will enable a maximum of 500 young Australian and Singaporeans to undertake short term work or study within the reciprocal country. The Federal Government announced that the Australia-Singapore Work and Holiday visa arrangement will commence on 1 August 2017.

The new visa arrangements are intended to further boost business and tourism links between Australia and Singapore.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Australian Entrepreneur visa

Creating an Australian Innovation Hub: Spotlight on the Australian Entrepreneur Visa

Australian Innovation Investment

Australia abounds with initiatives to grow and develop its innovation and technological expansion agenda, including funding programs and changes to the visa system with the introduction of the Australian Entrepreneur visa.

As part of the National Innovation & Science Agenda, strategies by the Australian Federal Government to fund and build innovation and startups in Australia include the following:

  • $23 million invested for the “Incubator Support” initiative which provides funding to support new and existing Incubators (including developing new incubators in regions or sectors with high potential for success in international trade) as well as an Expert-In-Residence program to provide access to research, managerial and technical talent .
  • $30 million invested to create opportunities for businesses in the rapidly growing cyber security sector, including establishing a new industry-led Cyber Security Growth Centre in Australia.
  • $36 million invested in a Global Innovation Strategy to improve Australia’s international science, research and innovation collaboration through Landing Pads which provide market-ready startups with a short-term (90 day) operational base where they can access entrepreneurial talent, mentors, investors and a wider connected network of innovation hubs located in Berlin, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore and Tel Aviv.
  • $500 million invested to establish the Biomedical Translation- $250 million of Commonwealth funding that has been matched by private sector investors to invest in commercialising promising biomedical discoveries.

As explained through the Australian Government website: www.innovation.gov.au.

Australian Entrepreneur Visa

The Australian Government introduced changes to the visa system last year to assist in attracting and retaining entrepreneurial talent ‘to drive ideas from research to commercial reality’ in Australia. The Entrepreneur visa continues to be an attractive means for overseas directors of Australian startups to remain in Australia and grow their business.

The Entrepreneur visa is a four year visa with a pathway to permanent residency through the Business Innovation & Investment (Residence) subclass 888 visa.

The Entrepreneur visa is a two-stage process which requires:

  1. Nomination by an Australian State or Territory Government; and
  2. Lodging a visa application with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

Requirements include:

  • The visa applicant must be under the age of 55 years unless providing an “exceptional economic benefit” to the State or Territory;
  • Have a funding agreement in place for a minimum of $200,000 to establish a venture in Australia;
  • Have an ownership interest of at least 30%; and
  • Have at least competent English.

The proposed business venture would need to include either the development of an enterprise or business in Australia or involve the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia.

For overseas entrepreneurs building their business in Australia, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for a confidential discussion regarding your eligibility for the Entrepreneur visa.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Australian visa dependents

Redefining Dependents for Australian Visa Applications

Redefining dependents for Australian visa applications- The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has recently narrowed the definition of “members of the family unit” of a visa applicant who can be included in the visa application to travel to Australia. These changes took effect at the end of 2016.

Essentially, dependent relatives other than children are no longer able to be included and children of visa applicants are now required to be “dependent” on the primary visa applicant, either because they are under 18, are under 23 and do not support themselves or over 23 and incapacitated to work. The new definition does not apply to certain visas such as humanitarian and student visas which each have their own requirements.

Previous definition of dependency

Prior to 19 November 2016, it was possible to include dependent relatives on various Australian visa applications who were ‘members of the family unit’ of the primary visa application.  This was quite a broad definition as in addition to partners and children, parents and other relatives could be included provided the visa applicant could show financial and practical dependency.

New definition of dependency

The DIBP has narrowed the definition of dependency and now the only “members of the family unit” that can be included in relevant Australian visa applications are as follows:

  • Partners (including spouses and de facto partners);
  • Children (including biological, step and adopted children) under 18 and certain other eligible children of the primary visa applicant (as explained below); and
  • Any dependent child of eligible children of the primary visa applicant.

It is important to note that children of the primary visa applicant over the age of 23 can generally no longer be included as they were in the past.  Children between the ages of 18 and 23 can only be included if they are financially dependent on the primary applicant.  There is a limited exception where a dependent child over the age of 23 is incapacitated to work.

Grandfathering Arrangements

Grandfathering arrangements have been implemented by the DIBP for people already holding temporary visas who may apply for permanent residency at a future date.  Therefore, secondary applicants who have been granted visas by the DIBP as “members of the family unit” will be deemed to continue to meet this definition when applying for permanent Australian visas.

Holders of the following visas are deemed to be “members of the family unit” even if they no longer meet the new definition when applying for Australian permanent residency:

  1. Members of the family unit of Temporary Work (Skilled)(subclass 457) visas applying for Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)(subclass 186) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)(subclass 187) visas;
  2. Members of the family unit holding Skilled Regional Provisional (subclass 489) visa applying for Skilled Regional Permanent (subclass 187) visas; and
  3. Members of the family unit of Temporary Contributory Parent visas applying for permanent Contributory Parent (subclass 243 and 864) visas; and
  4. Members of the family unit of Provisional Business Skills (subclass 188) visas applying for Permanent Business Skills (subclass 888) visas.

The grandfathering arrangements also apply to holders of a subclass 457 visa who apply for a further subclass 457 visa.

For more information on applying for an Australian visa, please feel free to contact the author by email at rebecca@hartmanlawyers.com.au or by telephone on +61 3 9021 0986 or +61 (0)423 701 747.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

corporate immigration

Australian Corporate Immigration Implications Following the Re-election of Prime Minister Turnbull

With a mandate to begin forming the new Federal Government of Australia, re-elected Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, will be able to resume his implementation of the ‘Ideas Boom’  – ie the ‘National Innovation and Science Agenda’ which supports changes to the visa system to attract overseas talent and investment to Australia.

However corporate immigration policies were seemingly absent from the 2016 election campaign focus of both major Australian parties.  We are therefore yet to see how the newly formed Government will impact on corporate immigration, potentially affecting Australian businesses sponsoring overseas employees as well as international companies required to send employees to Australia.

The main visas to monitor at this stage are:

  • Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visas;
  • The Short-Term Mobility visas; and
  • The Entrepreneur visas.

Subclass 457 Visas

The subclass 457 visa remains the most common means of Australian employers sponsoring overseas workers.  It is by no means a simple process and involves employers and visa applicants meeting rigorous requirements, from training expenditure to salary thresholds, English language requirements and labour market testing.

Australia’s premier foreign policy think tank, the Lowy Institute, conducts an annual opinion poll of Australian attitudes to key issues.  In relation to the economy, the report from June this year states that opinions are as follows:

“Optimism about the Australian economy has lifted, with 70% of Australians now ‘very optimistic’ or ‘optimistic’ about ‘Australia’s economic performance in the world over the next five years’, up seven points since 2015.”

Positive public opinion regarding the economy generally assists in paving the way for a more generous corporate immigration policy to enable Australian businesses (especially in the technology and innovation industries) to retain and attract overseas employees where they are unable to find local labour.  Therefore, the Turnbull Government is unlikely to introduce drastic restrictive reforms to the subclass 457 visa.

Short-Term Mobility Visas

The proposal for a new Short-Term Work visa enabling businesses to bring in specialist workers for up to a year seems to have been abandoned by the Turnbull Government.

This visa would have filled a gap in the immigration program where a business requires specialist services for greater than the three month period usually provided by the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (subclass 400) visa, and wishing to bypass the red tape involved in applying for a subclass 457 visa, which can be granted for up to four years.

Therefore, businesses requiring services from overseas employees will generally need to continue to apply for the subclass 400 or subclass 457 visa, depending on the nature of the position and relocation requirements.

Entrepreneur Visas

We are yet to see whether the newly formed Government will implement the new Entrepreneur visa, which was announced in December last year.

Discussion regarding access to Australian visas by entrepreneurs was intended by the Turnbull Government to encourage highly skilled workers to travel to Australia.  Also proposed was strengthening the permanent residence pathways for certain postgraduate research students.

The new Entrepreneur visa was intended to be introduced in November 2016 and the permanent residence pathways for postgraduate research students was to come into effect in December 2016.  It is now a case of ‘wait and see’ whether these reforms will be implemented by the new Turnbull government.

Future Corporate Immigration Policies

If the re-elected Prime Minister succeeds in implementing the ‘Ideas Boom’, it will be crucial for Australian businesses to be able to attract and retain the necessary talent and skills  from overseas.

It would not further the objectives  of the National Innovation and Science Agenda to restrict the subclass 457 visa program, especially in light of the implications for business now that the Short-Term Mobility visa has been abandoned.

If the Turnbull Government continues with its plan to introduce an Entrepreneur visa towards the end of this year, this may assist business in attracting overseas talent through a new Australian visa pathway.

For advice regarding Australian visas, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@hartmanlawyers.com.au for Australian immigration assistance.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Significant Investor Visa Review and Introduction of the Premium Investor Visa

The Review

The Significant Investor Visa (SIV) was introduced by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) on 24 November 2012 and waived age and English language requirements for visa applicants willing and able to invest $5 million in complying investments.  The DIBP conducted a review of the SIV stream which commenced on 7 March 2014.

The purpose of the review was intended to address the following issues:

  • Find ways to create faster processing times for SIV applications;
  • Create greater flexibility in investment choices for SIV applicants;
  • Establish a new permanent investor visa pathway; and
  • Introduce appropriate measures to prevent fraud and ensure the integrity of visa applicants.

The findings of the review have now been released and are expected to be implemented throughout 2014/2015 with legislative changes expected to be introduced on 1 July 2015.

Expected SIV Program Changes

From information published by the DIBP, it seems that the Government will introduce the following changes to the SIV program:

  1. The most significant change will be the introduction of a new Premium Investor visa (PIV) outlined below;
  2. As well as the States being able to nominate visa applicants for the SIV, Austrade will become an additional nominating body;
  3. Austrade will become involved in determining what constitutes a complying investment;
  4. Secondary applicants will be required to be resident in Australia for 180 days to be eligible for permanent residency;
  5. The implementation of measures will continue to be introduced to improve processing times for the SIV visa; and
  6. The Government intends to increase promotion of the SIV program globally and strengthen fraud prevention and improved integrity of the visa.

The proposed changes to the SIV program are not expected to affect current SIV holders or those applicants who have already lodged their SIV visa application.

Premium Investor Visa

The Premium Investor Visa (PIV) is intended to be introduced from 1 July 2015 and will form part of the Business Investor (subclass 188) visa program.  The features of the PIV are expected to be as follows:

  • The PIV requires an investment of $15 million to be made by a visa applicant in complying investments;
  • Austrade will be the only body able to nominate visa applicants for the PIV;
  • There will be no residency requirement for this visa and applicants will be able to apply for permanent residency after 12 months of holding this visa; and
  • Complying investments will be determined by Austrade in consultation with economic and industry portfolios.

The Prime Minister’s Office has stated that the intention of the PIV is to “encourage more high net worth individuals to make Australia home.”  The removal of the residency requirement for the PIV visa may render Australia a more attractive option globally to achieve the Government intention of increasing foreign investment in the Australian economy.

Please contact us for more information regarding changes to the SIV program and the introduction of the PIV visa.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.

Five Million Dollar Significant Investor Visa

The Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Mr Chris Bowen, has announced the introduction of the Significant Investor visa which is scheduled to commence from 24 November 2012 and will form part of the Business Innovation and Investment Program. The relevant subclasses relating to this visa are the Business Innovation and Investment subclass 188 provisional visa and subclass 888 permanent visa.

The Significant Investor visa is designed to attract successful investors and entrepreneurs who will assist in boosting the Australian economy and will provide Australia with a pathway of effectively competing for high net worth individuals seeking investment immigration on an international scale.

Applicants who are interested in applying for the Significant Investor visa are required to:

  • Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in SkillSelect;
  • Be nominated by a State or Territory government; and
  • Make an investment of at least AUD$5 million in a complying investment.

Complying investments for the significant visa stream include:

  • State or Territory bonds;
  • Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) regulated managed funds with a mandate for investing in Australia; and
  • Direct investment into private Australian companies not listed on the Australian stock exchange.

Investors will be entitled to hold investments in each of the investment options and may also be entitled to change between complying investments, subject to being able to meet the reinvestment requirements.

Successful investors who make an investment of AUD$5 million in a complying investment will receive the benefit of:

  • No points test;
  • No upper age limit; and
  • Reduced residency requirement of 160 days over four years.

Significant Investor visa applicants will have the flexibility of extending their initial four year visa term, if required by additional two year periods, with a maximum of two extensions being permitted.

Whilst the Significant Investor visa does not immediately provide the applicant with permanent residency status, it is likely that the majority of applicants, who have held complying investments in Australia for a minimum of four years and continue to meet the relevant requirements, will be eligible for permanent residency status. The key conditions to the pathway of permanent residency status will be announced in the near future.

The implementation of the Significant Investor visa stream will effectively promote the Australian migration program which is not only important to Australia’s economy in terms of skills, but will assist in promoting innovation and capital investment. The Significant Investor visa will create a new source of investment capital and increase the pool of funds managed locally. In turn, this will stimulate growth in industries such as, real estate property, financial planning, fund administration, stockbroking, accounting and funds management. It will also bring Australia into line with other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand, which provide for migration on the basis of specified investments and conditions.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.