If you own commercial or residential property, then you may be able to use these investments to receive a permanent investment visa in Australia.
Two visa pathways could allow you to use your property investments to obtain a permanent investment visa:
- Apply for a subclass 188 business and innovation (investor stream) visa – Investor Stream – and then transition to a subclass 888 business and innovation (investor stream) visa; or
- Apply for a subclass 188 business and innovation (significant investor stream) visa – Significant Investor Stream – and then transition to a subclass 888 business and innovation (significant investor stream) visa.
What is a subclass 188 business and innovation (investor stream) visa?
This visa is often referred to as a 188b visa. It is for experienced business owners or investors and can last for up to 4 years and three months. A 188b visa allows you to purchase at least AUD 1.5M of treasury bonds from an Australian State or Territory government. The government bonds that you purchase will be from the same Australian State or Territory that you will reside in whilst you hold your 188b visa.
What are the main requirements for the subclass 188b visa?
To be eligible for a 188b visa, you will need to meet the main eligibility criteria below.
1. Previous Investments
If you have an ownership interest in a business(es), cash on deposit, a self-managed superannuation scheme, a loan to a business(es), stocks, bonds, real estate, gold or silver, then you will have a previous investment that could be used to meet these criteria.
Please note that residential properties (i.e. your family home) do not count as an investment to obtain a 188b visa.
2. $1.5M AUD of Investments
The investments mentioned above will need to be worth at least AUD 1.5M for you to be eligible for a 188b visa. You can combine your investment assets with your spouse or de facto partners investment assets to meet this requirement.
3. Business and Personal Assets
Your business and personal assets need to be worth at least AUD 2.25M. Again, you can combine your assets with those held by your spouse or de facto partner to meet this requirement. A significant difference between this requirement and the requirements above is that you can use your residential properties to satisfy this criterion. This means that you can use the value of your family home and any other residential property you own.
Please note that you will need to have the value of your assets verified by appropriate supporting documentation. For example, if you are claiming that the value of your family home is worth AUD 2.5M, you will need to provide an independent property valuation from a qualified evaluator.
4. Designated Investment
You will be required to purchase at least AUD 1.5M of treasury bonds from an Australian State or Territory government to be eligible for a 188b visa. The funds that you use to buy these bonds must be unencumbered and originate from your previous investments listed above. However, you can borrow funds to make your Investment if the funds borrowed are secured by an asset that does not form part of your previous investments (i.e. a residential property).
After you have applied for your 188b visa, the immigration officer processing your application will write to you to advise you when you will need to make this Investment. You should not make your Investment until you have received this letter.
What is a subclass 888 business and innovation (investor stream) visa?
This is the visa you should use to transition from your 188b visa to permanent residency. It is often referred to as the 888b visa.
What are the requirements for the 888b visa?
To be eligible to receive an 888b visa, you will need to satisfy the following requirements.
1. Commitment to making investments in Australia
You will need to demonstrate that you will continue to make investments in Australia once you have become a permanent resident. The investments that you can make include things such as purchasing shares, property, natural resources, stocks, bonds or investing managed funds.
2. Compliance with Australian laws
You, and your spouse/de facto partner if you have one, should have a good record of complying with Australian laws while you held your 188b visa. If you have broken any laws while being in Australia, but this was a minor offence (i.e. speeding ticket), then you may still be able to meet this requirement.
3. Residency Period
For at least 2 out of the four years that you held your 188b visa you will need to reside in Australia. In some instances, you can use your spouse or de facto partner’s residency in Australia to meet this requirement.
4. Investment Period
The AUD 1.5M worth of bonds that you purchased will need to be held by you for at least four years. It is up to you whether you want to continue to hold this Investment past this period.
What is a subclass 188 business and innovation (significant investor stream) visa?
This visa is also known as the 188c visa and can last for up to 4 years and three months (or six years if you get your 188c visa extended). To be eligible for a 188c visa, you will need to be able to invest at least AUD 5M. You can use your property investments, including your residential properties, to make up this amount.
What Investment do I Need to Make to get a 188c Visa?
To get a 188c visa, you must invest at least $5M AUD as follows:
- Minimum of AUD 500K into an eligible venture capital managed fund.
- Minimum of AUD 1.5M into an eligible emerging company managed fund (i.e. companies that have recently been listed on a stock exchange).
- The remaining balance (up to AUD 3M) can be invested into any managed fund.
What is a Managed Fund?
A managed fund is a pool of money provided by investors. The managers of the fund are responsible for choosing how to invest this money. These managers will charge a fee to manage these investments.
Most managed funds will only invest in companies that are part of a specific industry or industries. For example, some managed funds will only invest in biomedical technology.
Can I Choose Which Companies the Managed Fund Will Invest in?
No. The fund managers will choose which companies to invest your funds in. This means that you should be careful when choosing which fund you want to give your money to, which is why we recommend that our clients obtain independent financial advice from a qualified adviser before they invest their funds.
Can I Change Funds Whilst Holding a 188c Visa?
You can choose to change which fund you invested into a different fund provider whilst holding a 188c visa, but this changeover must be done within 30 days.
188c Visa Criteria
To be eligible for a 188c visa, you must meet the following criteria.
1. Unacceptable Investment Activities
If any of your previous investments have been used to fund illegal activities, then you may not be able to obtain a 188c visa. This includes funding illegal gambling, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and terrorist organisations. If you were unaware that your investments were being used to fund illegal activities, then you may still be eligible for a 188c visa.
2. Eligible Investment
You must invest at least AUD 5M into the eligible managed funds mentioned above.
3. Source of Funds
The funds you are using to make your eligible investments must have been acquired from legitimate sources. Examples of legitimate sources include income, profits, interest, sale of assets, gifts, bequests, and inheritances.
You will need to provide evidence to prove the legitimacy of your funds. Evidence that can be used to prove the legitimacy of your funds includes historical financial documents (i.e. bank statements, payslips and tax documents), dividends, retained profits, wills, deeds, payment receipts, cheques, asset valuations, acquisitions and disposals.
4. Commitment to Holding Investments
You must commit to holding your 188c visa investments for at least four years.
What is a subclass 888 business and innovation (significant investor stream) visa?
You will be able to transition from your 188c visa to this visa if you meet the relevant requirements (more information below). This visa is often referred to as the 888c visa.
What are the requirements for the 888b visa?
1. Commitment to continue to invest in Australia
The same information about the 888b visa applies here.
2. Compliance with Australian Laws
The same information about the 888b visa also applies here.
3. Holding Investments
As with a 188b visa, you must hold your 188c investments for at least four years.
4. Residency Requirements
You must live in Australia for at least 160 days while holding your 188c visa to meet this requirement. However, it is also possible to meet this requirement if your spouse/de facto partner lived in Australia for at least 720 days while you held your 188c visa.