by LINDA GERONIMO-SANTOS,
Solicitor NSW & WA
SIGNIFICANT INVESTORS’ VISA
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES?
•What is significant investor’s visa?
The SIGNIFICANT INVESTOR’s VISA (subclass 188 (provisional – leading to permanent resident status visa (subclass 888) was introduced in November 2012 for the following rationale:
•To encourage investment in the States and Territories of Australia
•To attract overseas investments (for at least four years)
•To encourage migration of high net (financial) worth and to encourage business talents in Australia.
While most of the target markets include China, it is envisaged that other parts of Asia, India in particular and even the Philippines may be excellent targets for this relatively new visa.
•What are the basic requirements for the SIGNIFICANT INVESTOR’S VISA?
The visa applicant must:
•Invest $AUD5million dollars in approved or qualifying investments in Australia. Funds must be invested for 4 years minimum period.
•Visa applicant must spend a cumulative l60 days of stay in Australia per annum for 4 years.
•Visa applicant must be sponsored by a State or Territory of Australia.
•What are the advantages of the SIV (visa)?
•It does not require miminum English proficiency. This is useful especially for investors in non-English speaking countries, particularly in China, Japan and Thailand where English is not generally used as medium of instruction at educational institutions.
•There is no age limit
•The visa applicant can apply with members of family including spouse, minor children, and children who may be over l8 years of age, but are still dependent fully on the visa applicant, and are unmarried. (This, by the way applies to other provisional residents’
permanent residents’ visa applications).
•While the visa granted is subclass 188 (Business Innovation and Investment Provisional) visa, after 4 years of holding this visa 188), subclass 888 visa is granted.
•There is no points test. Nonetheless, the visa applicant must meet the requirements referred to in paragraph “3” above.
•Timeframe for processing of visa application
Subject to all documentations being correct, and complying with the visa requirements, including evidence of source of funds from home country, the subclass 188 visa may be granted within 6 months from date of application. It is noted that there is some delay in processing of existing SIV (Significant Investor’s Visa) applications due to the heavy workload of the DIAC (Department of Immigration and Citizenship) or its new name DIBP (Department of Immigration and Border Protection), SIV Section,
The applicant must consult with a migration professional regarding meeting the requirements of this visa; once the applicant and the migration professional are satisfied that all boxes are ticked, the visa applicant should submit an Expression of Interest to SkillSelect, and an application for nomination by a State or Territory be lodged, Once the nomination is granted by a State or Territory, and the Department is satisfied as to the legitimacy of the source of funds, and the visa applicant complies with the other SIV visa requirements, investment is made with the relevant nominating State or Territory, subclass188 visa is issued.
The grant of the visa is not the end of the migration success story. As Migration agents are generally not qualified investor or tax advisers, the visa applicant should seek assistance from professional investment and tax advisers in Australia, re choice of investments where profits to the investments may be maximised, and may be secure.
There are also tax implications for the SIV visa holder, as taxation regulations are or may be defined differently from taxation rules applying to Australian citizens and permanent residents.
There are issues for example of capital gains tax or other taxes that may not be consistent with the regulations applying to permanent residents and Australian citizens.
While your migration agent may not be able to provide you directly with these services, most of them may be able to refer you to the proper group of professionals to make your transition to provisional visa holders to permanent residents (subclass 188 to subclass 888) status as smoothly and as painlessly as possible.
If this is too expensive for a potential visa applicant, other options may be considered, where smaller capital is required, but subject however to the points system.