Visas

What you need to know
How to apply

Business Migration and
Investor Migration (Visas)

Interested, fill in your details below

Drag and drop files here or Browse
This form collects your name and email so that we can contact you. Check out our privacy policy for full details on how we use and protect your submitted data.

Did you know that Australia is currently experiencing its 25th year of uninterrupted annual growth? Did you know that Australia is currently ranked 15 on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index? Did you know that Australia ranks 2nd in the world for ease of setting-up a new business?

The ease of doing business index is an index created by the World Bank Group.  Higher rankings (a low numerical value) indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights.  Empirical research funded by the World Bank to justify their work show that the economic growth impact of improving these regulations is strong.[2]. Economies with a high rank (1 to 20) have simpler and more friendly regulations for businesses. This page includes a chart with historical data for Ease of Doing Business in Australia.  Ease of Doing Business in Australia is currently ranked at 15 (last updated January 2017) with South African ranking in at 186 in 2016.

Australia’s economic resilience and potential provide a safe, low-risk environment in which to do business.

The country’s economy is rated AAA by all three global rating agencies and is forecast to realise average annual real GDP growth of 2.9 per cent between 2016 and 2020.

The Australian economy is

  • the world’s 12th largest
  • in its 25th year of uninterrupted annual growth
  • supported by high productivity levels, with 15 out of 20 industries rating above the global average
  • an important contributor to five sectors expected to drive future global growth: agribusiness, education, tourism, mining and wealth management
  • home to the largest pool of funds under management in the Asian region.

Over the last decade, the Australian economy has been ‘riding’ a mining boom in iron ore, coal, gold and natural gas which has helped insulate Australia from the global financial crisis.

Although the peak in resource prices appears to have passed, we expect high-demand from Asia for natural resources will continue to underpin economic growth in Australia for some time. The national economy is forecast to grow at an average of 3.2% per year through to 20173.

Australia's accelerating political and corporate engagement with Asia — in particular China — is opening new and growing markets to Australian businesses. Agriculture, professional services, education and tourism are just some of Australia’s industries set to benefit over the coming years.

There are a number of factors which attract business to Australia.

  • Simple business establishment - Australia ranks 2nd in the world for ease of setting-up a new business
  • Receptive to foreign investment - Government policy is welcoming to Asia Pacific based business investors. Regulations are set by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
  • Shelter from global downturns - Australia’s economy proved resilient through the global financial crisis of 2008-09, and is well positioned to weather any future global shocks. Australia is perceived as a low-risk marketplace for foreign business investors.
  • Regional advantages - Australia’s workforce is highly-skilled and multicultural. Political and banking system stability makes Australia an ideal base for businesses in the Asia Pacific region.

Australia is committed to innovation and science, recognising that it underpins the country’s growth, economic prosperity, competitiveness and job creation.

To foster creativity and entrepreneurship, the Australian Government has launched a National Innovation and Science Agenda – a suite of initiatives to encourage Australians to take on new ideas, embrace risk, increase collaboration between industry and researchers, and develop and attract world-class talent for the jobs of the future.

Australia offers modern ICT infrastructure, high levels of investment, generous research and development (R&D) tax incentives for businesses and strong intellectual property protection.

Australia is

  • supportive of high-quality research outcomes and entrepreneurial activity
  • committed to R&D, with gross expenditure on R&D growing at twice the OECD average
  • rated fifth in a ranking of the world’s top 200 universities by five key subject fields
  • home to some of the world’s best academic and research institutions.

The Australian labour force is one of the most educated, multicultural and multilingual in the world.

Australia

  • has the world’s highest secondary education enrolment rate
  • is ranked ninth in the world for the talent of the people it produces, attracts and retains
  • has a culturally diverse workforce where almost 30 per cent of workers were born overseas
  • has experienced a sustained period of labour productivity growth exceeding growth in real wages
  • is the third most popular study destination for international students and a ‘first choice’ education destination within the Asian region.

Australia is geographically close to and has longstanding trade, investment and cultural ties with the Asia-Pacific region.

Existing and new trade agreements are set to drive the flow of goods, services and investments between Australia and its major trading partners in Asia, Europe and North America.

Australia has an open trading economy where

  • two-way trade in goods and services totalled A$664 billion in 2014 (42 per cent of GDP)
  • ten of the country’s top 12 goods and services export markets were in the Asian region
  • foreign investment stock totalled almost A$3 trillion as at June 2015

inward foreign direct investment stock reached A$688 billion in 2014, up 40 per cent from 2009 figures.

The Business Talent visa (subclass 132) is a permanent residence visa for business people who are nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency.

In order to qualify for this visa, we would need to be able to demonstrate that you, your partner, or you and your partner combined meet all f the following criteria

  • total net assets of at least AUD400 000 as the ownership interest in one or more qualifying businesses for least two of the four fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply and if the qualifying business(es) was a publicly listed company, a shareholding of at least 10 per cent of the total issued capital
  • net business and personal assets of at least AUD1.5 million that are legally acquired and can be transferred to Australia within two years after the visa is granted
  • a total annual turnover of at least AUD3 million in one or more of your main businesses in at least two of the four fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply
  • ownership of at least:
    • 51 per cent of a business with turnover of less than AUD400 000 per year
    • 30 per cent of a business with turnover of more than AUD400 000 per year, or
    • 10 per cent of a publicly listed company
  • an overall successful business career
  • no involvement in unacceptable business activities
  • a genuine desire to own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia.

You must also be younger than 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed business will be of exceptional economic benefit to the region where it will operate.

Please enquire through our offices as to the different State requirements for this visa.

The Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) is part of the Business Innovation and Investment Programme.

The Business Innovation stream is for people with business skills who want to establish, develop and manage a new or existing business in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government.

In  order to qualify for a subclass 188 visa,  you will need  to show that  you, your spouse or you and your spouse together meet the following minimum requirements

  • have obtained a sponsorship nomination from one of Australia’s State/Territory governments – we have established close relationships with the major sponsoring States and they are always happy to facilitate our clients who have innovative and realistic business plans for Australia
  • be under 55 years of age unless the nominating State / Territory provides a waiver on the age requirement (main applicant only)
  • have total assets of at least the equivalent of AUD800 000 that have been legally acquired and can be legally transferred to Australia within two years of the visa being granted.
  • have a business with a  total annual turnover of at least the equivalent of  AUD500 000  in at least two of the four fiscal years immediately before being invited to apply for the visa. The exchange rate used to calculate the Rand equivalent turnover is the one applicable at the date of the end of the financial year in question.
  • have owned at least:
    • 51 per cent of a business with turnover of less than AUD400 000 per annum, or
    • 30 per cent of a business with turnover of more than AUD400 000 per annum, or
    • 10 per cent of a publicly-listed company
  • have an overall successful business career with no involvement in unacceptable business activities.
  • have a genuine desire to own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia.

In addition to meeting the above-mentioned criteria, you will also be required to reach a score of 65 on the points system.  Points are allocated for attributes such as age, English language ability, qualifications, experience in business or investments, net personal and business assets, business turnover, and innovation. 

The subclass 188 is a 4-year temporary visa that can be converted to Permanent Residency.  If you are unable to satisfy the criteria for a permanent residency visa after this 4 year period there is a 2-year extension available on the subclass 188 visa.

Holding this visa is the first stage before becoming eligible to qualify for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888). Once you have been operating a business in Australia for at least 2 years, and you meet the requirements below you will be able to apply for permanent residency under the subclass 888 visa. You must have been in Australia and held your provisional visa for at least one year in the two years immediately before you apply.

In addition, you, your spouse, or you and your spouse together must

  • have had and continue to have a direct and continuous management role in the main business (or two main businesses) in Australia for at least two years immediately before you apply.
  • have had a turnover, in that main business (or two main businesses), of at least AUD300 000 in the year immediately before you apply.
  • own at least one of the following percentages of that main business (or two main businesses):
    • 51 per cent of a business with a turnover of less than AUD400 000 per annum, or
    • 30 per cent of a business with a turnover of more than AUD400 000 per annum, or
    • 10 per cent of a publicly-listed company.
  • have obtained Australian Business Numbers for each of the relevant businesses.
  • have submitted all relevant Business Activity Statements to the Australian Taxation Office.
  • not have acquired the ownership in your main business (or two main businesses) from a person who was an applicant for, or a holder of, a permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888), unless you and that person had a joint interest in the main business for at least one year before you lodge your application for this visa.

You  must also meet two of the following criteria

  • the net value of your assets in the main business (or two main businesses) in Australia is at least AUD200 000 throughout the year immediately before you apply.
  • the net value of your personal and business assets in Australia has been at least AUD600 000 throughout the year immediately before you apply.
  • you employed, in your main business (or two main businesses), throughout the year immediately before you apply, at least the equivalent of two full-time employees who are:
  • Australian citizens, or
  • Australian permanent residents, or
  • New Zealand passport holders, and
  • not your family members.

The Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) is part of the Business Innovation and Investment Programme. The Entrepreneur stream is for people who have a funding agreement from a third party for at least AUD200 000 to undertake a complying entrepreneur activity that is proposed to lead to either the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia or the development of a business in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government.

To qualify for this visa you must

  • ​ be under 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed  complying entrepreneur activity will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory
  • have competent English and be able to provide evidence of this at the time you are invited to apply for the visa
  • be undertaking or proposing to undertake a complying entrepreneur activity in Australia and have a genuine intention to continue this activity

A Complying Entrepreneur Activity is an activity that relates to an innovative idea that will lead to the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia or the development of an enterprise or business in Australia.

This activity must not relate to any of the following excluded categories

  • Residential real estate
  • Labour hire
  • Purchase of an existing enterprise or a franchise in Australia.

An activity is a complying entrepreneur activity if all of the following requirements are met

  • you have one or more legally enforceable agreements to receive funding with a total of at least AUD200 000 from one of the following entities:
    • Commonwealth Government agency
    • State or Territory Government
    • Publicly Funded Research Organisation
    • Investor registered as an Australian Venture Capital Limited Partnership or Early State Venture Capital Limited Partnership
    • Specified Higher Education Provider
  • under the agreement at least 10 per cent of the funding must be payable to the entrepreneurial entity within 12 months of the day the activity starts to be undertaken in Australia;
  • You held at least 30 per cent interest in your entrepreneurial entity when you entered into the agreement.
  • You have a business plan for the entrepreneurial entity noting how your innovative idea will lead to the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia or the development of an enterprise or business in Australia. 

Holding this visa is the first stage before becoming eligible to qualify for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888). To qualify for  Permanent residency you must have been in Australia and held your provisional visa in the Entrepreneur stream for at least two of the four years immediately before you apply.

In addition, you must be able to demonstrate a successful record of entrepreneurial activities in Australia. 

A successful record of entrepreneurial activity will be measured by a combination of key success factors and supporting success factors. You will need to demonstrate the completion of at least two key success factors or a combination of one key success factor and three supporting success factors.

Key success factors include

  • Employing two or more Australians, permanent residents or other eligible persons
  • Generating an annual turnover of at least AUD300 000
  • Filing a provisional patent or acquiring a standard or innovation patent
  • Receiving ongoing funding or investment in your entrepreneur activity
  • Entering into a partnership with a University
  • Selling an entrepreneurial venture for AUD2,000,000.

Supporting success factors include

  • Diversifying entrepreneurial activities into other business areas
  • Receiving a statement of success from a state or territory government nominator
  • Receiving sponsorship from the corporate sector
  • Starting at least one other business or contributing to at least two other businesses
  • Receiving formal awards or recognition
  • Raising or contributing to social capital.

Entrepreneurial activities in Australia must not be in one of the following categories

  • Residential real estate
  • Labour hire
  • Purchase of an existing enterprise or a franchise in Australia.

The Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) is part of the Business Innovation and Investment Programme.

The Subclass 188 Investor Stream visa is for people who want to make a designated investment of at least AUD1.5million in an Australian state or territory and maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government.

you must

  • be under 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed investment will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory
  • score at least 65 on the points test. Please see the Points test tab on this webpage for further information.
  • have a high level of management skill in relation to the eligible investment or qualifying business activity
  • have at least three years' experience of direct involvement in managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments
  • have an overall successful record of eligible investment or qualifying business activity
  • have a genuine and realistic commitment to continuing your business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured
  • have a genuine intention to live for at least two years in the state or territory in which you have made a designated investment.

You, your partner, or you and your partner combined must

  • for at least one of the five fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply, have directly managed one of the following:
    • a qualifying business in which you, your partner or you and your partner combined had at least 10 per cent ownership interest, or
    • eligible investments owned by you, your partner or you and your partner combined of at least AUD1.5million.
  • during the two fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply, have legally acquired net business, investment and personal assets of at least AUD2.25 million that are available for legal transfer to Australia within two years of the visa being granted
  • make a designated investment of at least AUD1.5 million in a state or territory government security using unencumbered funds accumulated from qualifying businesses or eligible investments and be prepared to hold that investment for at least four years from the date of issue in your nominating state or territory
  • have had no involvement in unacceptable activities.

Income that you earn from your designated investment in Australia is subject to tax under an Australian taxation law.

In addition to meeting the above-mentioned criteria, you will also be required to reach a score of 65 on the points system.  Points are allocated for attributes such as age, English language ability, qualifications, experience in business or investments, net personal and business assets, business turnover, and innovation. 

The subclass 188 is a 4-year temporary visa that can be converted to Permanent Residency.  If you are unable to satisfy the criteria for a permanent residency visa after this 4 year period there is a 2-year extension available on the subclass 188 visa.

Holding this visa is the first stage before becoming eligible to qualify for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888).  To qualify for the subclass 888 visa, you must have been in Australia and held your provisional visa in the Investor stream for at least two of the four years immediately before you apply.

In addition, you (or you and your partner combined) must have held a designated investment with an Australian state or territory for at least four years.

The Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) is part of the Business Innovation and Investment Programme.

The Significant Investor stream is for people who are willing to invest at least AUD5million into complying with significant investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants can be nominated by a state or territory government or Austrade on behalf of the Australian government.

Please note that the rules that were in force at the time that you applied for your Significant Investor visa will continue to apply for the duration of your provisional visa, including any Extension stream visas you apply for that relate to that provisional visa.

You must have a genuine and realistic commitment to

  • reside in the state or territory whose government agency nominated you,
  • continue your business and investment activity in Australia after the conclusion of your provisional visa,
  • live in Australia for at least 40 days per year (calculated cumulatively) for the duration of your provisional visa, or your spouse to live for at least 180 days per year (calculated cumulatively) for the duration of your provisional visa.

You, your partner, or you and your partner combined must have net assets of at least AUD5 million that are legally acquired, unencumbered, and available to be used to make the complying investment in Australia.

You and your partner must not have been involved in unacceptable business or investment activities.

You, members of your family unit aged at least 18 must agree not to bring any action against the Commonwealth for any loss relating to your complying investment.​​

Income that you earn from your complying investment in Australia is subject to tax under Australian taxation law.

You must also make a complying investment or a complying significant investment of at least AUD5 million over four years.

Important: You might want to seek independent legal advice in relation to ensuring that an investment made for the purpose of this stream is a ‘complying significant investment’. It is your responsibility to ensure your investment options comply.

You must make a complying significant investment of at least AUD5 million over four years 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 investing in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
  • A ‘balancing investment’ of at least AUD3 million in managed funds that may invest in a range of assets, including ASX-listed companies, Australian corporate bonds or notes, annuities and commercial real estate.

Direct investment in residential real estate continues to be prohibited and indirect investment in residential property through managed funds is now strictly limited.

If you are applying for a permanent visa (subclass 888) in the Significant Investor stream, you must have held at the time of application

  • a provisional visa (subclass 188) in the Significant Investor stream or in the Significant Investor Extension stream.

You must have been in Australia as the holder of a provisional visa (subclass 188) in the Significant Investor stream or the Significant Investor extension stream for at least 40 days per year (calculated cumulatively) for the period of time you have held your provisional visa(s), or your spouse has been in Australia for at least 180 days per year (calculated cumulatively) on the basis of the period of time the primary applicant has held their provisional visa(s).

In addition, you (or you and your partner combined) must have

Note that the rules in force at the time you applied for you original subclass 188 visa in the Significant Investor stream will apply to you when your application for a subclass 888 visa is assessed.

If you are applying for a permanent visa (subclass 888) in the Premium Investor stream, you must have held a provisional visa (subclass 188) in the Premium Investor stream at the time of application and be nominated by the Commonwealth government.

You must have held your provisional visa for a minimum of 1 year.

You (or you and your partner combined) must have held complying premium investments continuously for at least 1 year, and for the entire time you have held your Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188).

The Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) is part of the Business Innovation and Investment Programme.

The Premium Investor stream is for people who are willing to invest at least AUD15million into complying premium investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by Austrade on behalf of the Australian government.

The Premium Investor stream is by nomination of Austrade on behalf of the Australian government only. You must make a complying investment of at least AUD15 million in any of the following options:

  • Australian securities exchange listed assets.
  • Australian government or semi-government bonds or notes.
  • Corporate bonds or notes issued by an Australian exchange listed entity (or wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australian listed entity) or investment grade rated Australian corporate bonds or notes rated by an AFS licenced debt rating agency.
  • Australian proprietary limited companies.
  • Real property in Australia excluding residential property.
  • Deferred annuities issued by Australian registered life companies.
  • State or territory government approved philanthropic contribution.

Income that you earn from your complying investment in Australia is subject to tax under an Australian taxation law.

You must also have a genuine and realistic commitment to continue your business and investment activity in Australia after the conclusion of your provisional visa.

You, your partner (spouse or de facto), or you and your partner combined must have net assets of at least AUD15 million that are legally acquired, unencumbered, and available to be used to make the complying investment in Australia.

You and your partner must not have been involved in unacceptable business or investment activities.

You, your partner and other family members aged at least 18 must agree not to bring any action against the Commonwealth for any loss relating to your complying investment.

Business Migration Assessment


If you are interested in becoming involved in a business in Australia, please complete our enquiry form and a consultant will contact you to arrange an appointment.

This form collects your name and email so that we can contact you. Check out our privacy policy for full details on how we use and protect your submitted data.

I consent to having Australian Migration Specialists collect my details to contact me in regards to my query.

Speak to our Consultants

Speak to a Australian Migration Specialists Consultant Michelle Oztas: +27 11 783 9440

Speak to a Australian Migration Specialists Consultant Tracey Lawrence: +27 82 419 3696

Registered Migration Agent No. 9803463

Contact Details

Tel: +27 11 783 9440


Australian Mobile: +61 404 371 683

The Business Exchange, 2nd Floor
Grosvenor Corner
195 Jan Smuts Ave (corner of 7th Avenue)
Rosebank, Johannesburg
South Africa
2196

Sign up for email updates

Sign up for email updates

Follow us on social media

Speak to our Consultants

We are eager to hear from you