The Significant Investor Stream (Sc188) – A Detailed View
The Significant Investor Stream is a provisional visa for people who invest and maintain at least AUD5 million in Australian investments that meet certain requirements. This visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to 4 years and 3 months and is granted with multiple entry, enabling holders to leave and re-enter Australia for the validity of the visa.
This visa also allows you to bring eligible family members with you. While this is a provisional visa, visa holders may apply for a new visa if they wish to stay longer. Once you have this visa, you may apply for permanent residence through the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa SIV stream, provided certain requirements are met.
EligibilityIn order to be eligible for the Significant Investor Stream, you must be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency, or the CEO of Austrade before being invited to apply for this visa.
To be granted the visa, you must make an investment of AUD5 million in Australian investments with a genuine intention of holding that investment for at least four years.
Funds must be invested in the following proportions:
- at least AUD500,000 in venture capital and growth private equity funds which invest in start-ups and small private companies
- at least AUD1.5 million in approved managed funds. The managed funds must invest in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange
- a ‘balancing investment’ of at least AUD3 million in managed funds.
The managed funds can be invested in a range of assets, including companies listed on the Australian stock exchange, Australian corporate bonds or notes, annuities and commercial real estate. It is prohibited to make a direct investment in residential real estate and indirect investment in residential property through managed funds is strictly limited.
You must also meet the following criteria:
- Not have a history of involvement in unacceptable activities
- Have functional English
- Meet health requirements
- Meet character requirements
- Sign the Australian values statement
- Have no debt to the Australian government
- Not have had a visa cancelled or a prior application refused
What Obligations Apply to the Significant Investor Stream?
The visa holder and any family members that are part of the application must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws.
Prior to entering Australia for the first time, a visa holder must not marry or enter into a de facto relationship.
While holding this visa, you must:
- Have a genuine intention to live in the state or territory whose government nominated you
- Continue business and investment activity once the visa ends
- Maintain your investment for the duration of the visa and comply with workplace laws
In order to be eligible for the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa in the Significant Investor Stream, you must also live in Australia for at least 40 days per year for the duration of your provisional visa. Alternatively, your spouse or de facto must live in Australia for at least 180 days per year for the duration of the visa. These days do not need to be consecutive.
You must also maintain your investment. Your complying significant investment must be at least AUD5 million over four years and must be held continuously for the life of your provisional visa.
You may switch between complying significant investments if:
If you re-invest funds into a complying significant investment within 30 days, it is counted as holding the investment continuously.
- you re-invest the funds you withdraw from an investment into other complying significant investments within 30 days
- the sum withdrawn is the same as, or less than, the sum re-invested irrespective of any gains and losses due to market exposures
If you withdraw funds from venture capital or emerging company investments, you must re-invest the funds into other venture capital or emerging companies.
If you withdraw funds from the 'balancing investment' portion of investments, you can re-invest them into another balancing investment, venture capital or emerging companies.
If you withdraw funds from venture capital because the venture capital investment has been realised, you must re-invest those funds. You can re-invest them in any eligible complying significant investment.
Any income earned from complying significant investments in Australia may be subject to tax under Australian taxation law.
How Much Does the Significant Investment Stream Visa Cost?
The Significant Invest Stream visa costs AUD7,310 for the main applicant.
Additional charges for family members included in your application are as follows:
- additional applicant over 18 years old: AUD3,655
- additional applicant under 18 years old: AUD1,830
If an applicant was at least 18 years of age at the time of application and satisfies the secondary criteria for the grant of a subclass 888 visa and is assessed as not having functional English, then they may be required to pay an additional charge if a second instalment of the visa application charge in relation to their Business Innovation and Investment visa application was not paid.
Additional charges are as follows:
- main applicant: AUD9,795
- family members: AUD4,890
There is no standard processing times available for this stream.
If you would like to learn more about the Significant Investor Stream, speak to one of the Visa Solutions team today. It is a complex subject so it is important to speak with someone in the know.