The Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) offers permanent residency pathways for business owners, investors, and entrepreneurs who wish to relocate or expand their business and investment activities to Australia. The upcoming changes will provide for faster pathways to permanent residency for investors, as well as the potential for increased returns on investment.
The Morrison Government is reforming the BIIP with a view to maximising the economic contribution of the program to Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery.
The key changes to the BIIP will be:
- The subclass 188 (Investor Stream) visa (Investor Visa) investment threshold will increase from A$1.5million to A$2.5million.
- The subclass 188 (Significant Investor Stream) visa (Significant Investor Visa) investment threshold will remain unchanged at A$5million.
- A new Complying Investment Framework (CIF) will now apply to both the Investor Visa and Significant Investor Visa.
- The new CIF breakdown is:
- 20% venture capital and Private Growth Equity funds (VCPE), up from a previous 10%;
- 30% funds investing in emerging companies; and
- 50% in balancing investments, down from a previous 60%.
- Funds will be required to produce independent audit reports annually to show their compliance with the new CIF.
The purpose of these changes is to increase the amount of foreign investment through these visa programs and to shift the focus of investment towards venture capital and private growth equity. Investor Visa applicants will now have the potential to reap better returns on their investments from the previous conservative returns offered on state/territory government bonds.
Other BIIP changes that were previously announced are:
- The permanent subclass 132 visa and provisional subclass 188 (Premium Investor) visa will be removed from Australia’s visa program.
- The visa period for all visas in the BIIP will be increased from 4 to 5 years, while the wait time to apply for permanent residency will reduce from 4 to 3 years, once requirements are met.
- The threshold requirements for the subclass 188 (Business Innovation Stream) visa (Business Innovation Visa) will be increased, requiring applicants to hold assets of A$1.25million and have an annual turnover of A$750,000 in their main business(es).
- The A$200,000 funding threshold for the subclass 188 (Entrepreneur Stream) visa (Entrepreneur Visa) will be removed, meaning that applicants can apply for the visa without the need to first source specific funding for their entrepreneurial activity.
The changes to the BIIP will come into effect from 1 July 2021.
From 1 July 2021, the simplified BIIP will provide for four visa options:
- Business Innovation Visa
- For successful business owners who wish to own and operate a business in Australia
- Key threshold requirement is that you must have assets of A$1.25 million to bring to Australia
- Investor Visa
- For experienced business persons or investors who wish to invest in Australia
- Key threshold is A$2.5 million investment into a Complying Investment Framework
- Significant Investor Visa
- For high net worth individuals who wish to invest in Australia
- Key threshold is A$5 million investment into a Complying Investment Framework
- Entrepreneur Visa
- For entrepreneurs who wish to undertake complying entrepreneur activity in Australia
- Key threshold is that you must have an innovative idea that will lead to the commercialisation of a product or service, or the development of an enterprise in Australia