Chris Bowen announces Significant Investor visa program

Date: May 28, 2012

A new visa program designed to attract investors to Australian shores will have a number of economic benefits, according to the minister for immigration and citizenship.

Speaking alongside financial services minister Bill Shorten, Chris Bowen asserted that the new Significant Investor visa will facilitate job growth and economic development in a number of key areas - and bring Australia in line with a number of international counterparts.

Following the lead of the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore, Australia's new Significant Investor visa is aimed at migrants who intend to make a minimum investment of $5 million into the domestic economy.

The creation of the Significant Investor visa, as well as considerable reforms to the existing Business Skills visa program, will have a number of advantages.

Bowen asserted that under the criteria for the Significant Investor visa, applicants will be granted a number of exemptions - including reduced residency requirements. Investors planning to come to Australia under this visa class will also not be required to meet a points test "in recognition of their meaningful investment contribution".

The new Significant Investor visa will be introduced during the 2012-13 program year, while another similar program targeting skilled innovators - the Business Innovation and Investment visa - will be integrated as part of the upcoming SkillSelect model.

Reforms to this visa program include a pathway to permanent residency for entrepreneurs, and a new points-based test that will better facilitate individuals with a strong track record of business innovation to make provisional visa applications.

Bowen's announcement of the new visa category is one of several changes that are set to be made to the Australian skilled migration landscape from the beginning of the next financial year.

With a number of significant changes on the horizon for skilled migrants coming to Australia under permanent and temporary visa schemes, discussing your needs with an experienced migration lawyer could be a prudent first step in the visa application process.

An experienced immigration lawyer can help you assess which Australian visa might be best for you and help you through the application process.

Skilled lawyers often have an advantage over migration agents without a legal background - with additional training and years of experience, they are usually well-equipped to deal with a myriad of skilled migration issues and can offer trusted guidance with your case.