Soon after the Coalition government came to power in 2013, the Minister for Immigration announced that the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) will be reviewed. In March 2014 the government announced a review of the SIV to ensure that it benefited the Australian economy and it was made more attractive to applicants.
The government announced the key findings of the review on 14 October 2014, with the main announcement being the introduction of another investment stream within the Business Innovation and Investment category.
From 1 July 2015 a new visa called the Premium Investor Visa (PIV) will be available. Applicants for this PIV will be required to invest $15 million into complying investments in Australia. Holders of this PIV will not be required to fulfil any residency requirement, and will have their permanent residency fast tracked after 12 months. The Australian Trade Commission (or Austrade) will play a critical role in nominating these applicants to the Department of Immigration.
In contrast, the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) applicant is required to be nominated by a State or Territory government, and invest $5 million in complying investments. They needed to wait 4 years, and reside in Australia for 160 days before they can apply for permanent residence.
Under the reforms announced by the government, the SIV process will be streamlined and will be processed more quickly. And like the proposed PIV, Austrade will play a significant role in future SIV processing. In addition to the role that is currently played by State and Territory governments’ in nominating applicants to the Department of Immigration, Austrade will also be a nominating agency.
In addition, in all visa streams of the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa, there will be changes to allow ‘role swapping’ between primary and secondary applicants during the provisional visa stage to permit applicants to meet the requirements more easily.
There will also be a residency requirement of 180 days per year for secondary SIV applicants to encourage families to settle into Australian life. The government wants to be assured that applicants and their families are genuine in their commitment to contribute to Australian life and the economy.
The government is currently considering the review’s recommendation about aligning complying investment policy with the government’s national investment policy. If this proceeds, Austrade is likely to have policy responsibility for determining the constitution of complying investment in concert with other appropriate government agencies and stakeholders.
These changes will be implemented progressively over the 2014–15 programme year. The Government will make further announcements on the review into the SIV programme in the near future.
The changes will not apply to existing SIV holders or current applications.
For further information about this and other visas, please contact Peter Kuek-Kong Lee of Rostron Carlyle Solicitors on (07) 3009 8444. He has applied successfully for Business Innovation & Investor visas for clients.