An Alternative Route to an Australian Business Visa (188 to 888)

Australian Business Visa 188 to 888

There is another way for you to obtain a permanent business visa Even if you Do Not Meet the Criteria for a subclass 132 permanent business visa. This involves you transitioning from the subclass 188 Business Innovation Stream visa to the subclass 888 Business Innovation Stream visa.

To find out more about the subclass 888 Business Innovation Stream visa, including the criteria that you will need to meet to be eligible for this visa, continue reading below.


What is a Subclass 888 Business Innovation Stream Visa?

The subclass 888 Business Innovation Stream visa, often referred to as an 888a visa, is a permanent visa that allows you to operate a business in Australia. You cannot apply for an 888a visa unless you already hold a 188a, 444 or 457 (business long stay) visa.


How do you apply for an 888a visa?

If you wish to apply for an 888a visa, then you will have to do this via ImmiAccount. Your application can be submitted either inside or outside of Australia.

However, if you lodge your visa outside Australia, then you may not be eligible to receive a bridging visa whilst your application is being processed. If you are unsure about how this would impact on your circumstances, you should talk to a migration agent or lawyer first before submitting your application.


Can you include family members in your 888a visa application?

You can include members of your family unit in your 888a visa application. This includes spouses/de facto partners and dependant children. Generally speaking, a child over the age of 23 won’t be considered a dependant, unless you can provide evidence that demonstrates that they are (i.e medical documents).


How much does an 888a visa cost?

The visa application charge for an 888a visa is $2,590AUD. For any family members over 18 that are included in your application, their visa application charge will be $1,300AUD. Family members under 18 will need to pay a $645AUD visa application charge.

An additional visa application charge applies if you or your family members over 18 do not have functional English [link to FAQ about this or Immigration page?] language abilities. This additional charge is $4,890.


How long does it take to get an 888a visa?

There are currently no standard processing times available for an 888a visa application. To check whether this has been updated, follow this link.


Are there any conditions attached to an 888a visa?

There are no mandatory conditions attached to every 888a visa. However, there are some conditions that may be attached to your visa depending on your circumstances.

Firstly, if you are outside Australia when your 888a visa is granted, you must not enter Australia before the entry date specified in your visa grant notice, and if you have included any family members in your 888a visa application, condition 8515 may be imposed on them. Condition 8515 prevents the visa holder from marrying or entering into a de facto relationship before entering Australia on their 888a visa.


When does an 888a visa come into effect?

The 888a visa comes into effect on the date that your visa is granted (i.e the date stated on the visa grant notice). You can verify this date by logging into your VEVO account.


What are the steps involved with an 888a visa application?


  1. Obtain Nomination

    Unlike 188a visa applications, you are not required to submit an expression of interest visa SkillSelect to be eligible for an 888a visa. However, you do still need to be nominated by an Australian State or Territory government agency.
    This is generally the same Australian State or Territory government agency that nominated you for your 188a visa, although it is possible in some instances to obtain a nomination from a different State or Territory government agency.

    If you were nominated by a State or Territory government agency for a 188a visa and you wish to seek a nomination from a different State or Territory government agency for an 888a visa, you should make enquiries with the agency that has previously nominated you, as well as the agency that you are seeking a nomination from to determine whether this is possible before submitting your 888a visa application. This is because not all State or Territory government agencies allow you to ‘transfer’ your nomination from one State or Territory to another. Each State and Territory government agency has its own criteria when it comes to providing a nomination for an 888a visa. You should visit their website to find this criterion.


  2. Lodge Visa Application

    Once you have obtained your nomination for an 888a visa, the next step is to submit your visa application.


What are the criteria for an 888a visa?

Australian Business Visa 188 to 888

As mentioned above, you must already hold a certain type of visa before you can be eligible to apply for an 888a visa. If you do hold the correct type of visa, then you will also need to demonstrate that you meet the following criteria to be eligible for an 888a visa.


Unacceptable Business Activities

If you or your spouse/de facto partner have a history of involvement in business or investment activities that are of a nature that is not generally acceptable in Australia, then you may not be eligible for an 888a visa. Unacceptable business activities include things like pyramid schemes, taxation fraud, wage theft and bankruptcy.

Depending on the circumstances, an officer processing an 888a visa application may use their discretion to grant an 888a visa despite there being evidence of unacceptable business activities. Generally speaking, this will usually only occur if evidence can be produced that demonstrates that any previous unacceptable business activities should have no bearing on the application.


Genuine and Realistic Commitment

You must demonstrate that you genuinely have a realistic commitment to maintaining your business activities in Australia. This usually involves you continuing with the business activities that were associated with your 188a visa application. However, it may still be possible to meet this requirement even if you have changed your business activities whilst holding your 188a visa.



Compliance with Laws

This requirement is similar to the unacceptable business activities requirement mentioned above. The difference here is that this requirement specifically relates to having a satisfactory record of compliance with any laws of the Commonwealth, as well as the State or Territory that you operate your business in and employ employees for that business.

For example, if you were to be found guilty of a traffic offence such as speeding in the State of Queensland, this may not impact on your ability to meet the unacceptable business activities requirement because the offence arguably does not relate to any of your business activities. It may, however, impact on your ability to meet this requirement because it is evidence of non-compliance with the laws of an Australian state.

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Public Interest and Special Return Criteria

Like all visa applications, the 888a visa requires you to meet certain public interest and special return criteria. This includes things such as meeting the health and character requirements. It also includes an examination of your Australian visa history, especially if you have previously had an Australian visa cancelled or received a deportation notice.
If you include family members in your 888a visa application, they will also need to meet the respective public interest and special return criteria. The criteria that apply to each family members depends on whether they are over the age of 18.

Type of Visa Held

If you hold a 188a, 444 or 457 (business long stay) visa, you will need to have held this visa for a total period of at least one year in the two years immediately prior to you lodging your 888a visa application. In some instances, your spouse or de facto partner may be able to lodge the 888a visa instead of yourself, so long as they have held a 188a or 188a extension visa.


Ownership Interest

You must have an ownership interest in at least one actively operating main business in Australia during the two years immediately prior to you lodging your 888a visa application. This ownership interest must also be maintained after the application has been lodged. If your ownership interest ceases before your 888a visa is granted, then it is likely that your 888a visa application will be refused.


Australian Business Number

An Australian Business Number (ABN) must have been obtained for any of the businesses that you are claiming to have an ownership interest in. To find out more about ABNs click here.


Business Activity Statements

If the business that you are claiming to have an ownership interest in is required by law to provide Business Activity Statements (BAS) to the Commissioner of Taxation, each BAS required during the two years prior to you lodging your 888a visa application must have been submitted to the Commissioner and be included in your 888a visa application.



Benchmarks

There are certain benchmarks that you and/or your Australian business or businesses must meet for you to be eligible for an 888a visa. These benchmarks relate to asset ownership, employment and turnover.

You must meet at least two out of the three benchmarks below:


Assets

There are two benchmarks that relate to the ownership of assets, the first requires you and/or your spouse/de facto partner to hold assets in your Australian business or businesses that have a net value of at least $200,000 throughout the 12-month period immediately prior to you lodging your 888a visa application. This can include assets such as shares, equipment and loans which have been lawfully acquired.

The second asset benchmark requires you and/or your spouse/de facto partner to have a business and/or personal assets that have a net value of $600,000AUD in the 12-month period immediately before your 888a visa application is submitted. Examples of personal assets include cash deposits, residential property and gold. Again, these assets must be lawfully acquired.


Employment

This benchmark involves you demonstrating that during the 12-month period immediately before your 888a visa application is lodged your Australian business or businesses employed at least 2 full-time staff members. These staff members cannot be yourself or a member of your family unit, and they must be either an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a holder of a valid New Zealand passport.


Turnover

You must meet the turnover benchmark to be eligible for an 888a visa. The applicable amount of turnover that your Australian business or businesses must generate is $300,000AUD, and this must be done in the 12 months immediately prior to you lodging your 888a visa application.


Exceptional Circumstances

If you are unable to demonstrate that the benchmarks above have been met, it may still be possible to obtain an 888a visa. This would occur if the State or Territory government agency that has nominated you for your 888a has deemed that there are exceptional circumstances present that override the need for you to meet these benchmarks. In addition to you receiving this exception from the State or Territory government agency that has nominated you for an 888a visa, you must also reside, and operate your business in, an area designated by the Minister for Immigration. To find out what areas this applies to, click here.



What can I do if my 888a application is refused?

If you were in Australia when you applied for your 888a visa, you should be able to appeal the decision to refuse your application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. If you do not have a right of appeal, then you will need to explore whether you should make another 888a visa application or apply for a different visa.

If you’re in any doubt or have any questions please get in touch with one of our legal experts, or book a free visa assessment:

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