Significant Investor Visa (Subclass 188) nominations (and invitations to lodge a formal application) will be temporarily suspended from 24 April 2015 until 30 June 2015, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has announced.

The suspension is pending finalisation of the Government's changes to the Significant Investor Program (SIV) visa program, including a new Premium Investor Visa (PIV) category, due to apply from 1 July 2015. The DIPB has stated that the suspension is necessary to ensure clarity for prospective SIV applicants about the investment framework that will apply to them.

See our previous Alert Proposed changes to the Significant Investor Visa Program for information concerning the proposed changes.

What this means for SIV applicants:

  • SIV applicants who are existing visa holders can continue to invest in a complying investment under the current Migration Regulations 1994 and the instrument made by the Minister under those Regulations (IMMI 13/092) (including if they change their complying investment during the four year period of their investment);
  • SIV applicants who have been nominated and invited to make a formal application before 24 April 2015 are not impacted by the changes provided they make their formal application within the required 60 day timeframe. They will be assessed under the existing rules and will need to make and maintain complying investments which meet the existing requirements.
  • SIV applicants who submit an Expression of Interest
  • before 24 April 2015 but who are not invited to make a formal application before that date will be dealt with under the new regulations on or after 1 July 2015.
  • on or after 24 April 2015 will be dealt with under the new regulations on or after 1 July 2015.

What this means for Managed Fund operators

Managed Fund operators will need to determine the complying status of investments in their Funds under the current regulations and proposed changes after 30 June 2015 (once the details are announced and finalised).  Operators whose Funds are complying investments under the current regulations but will no longer be complying investments after 30 June 2015:

  • may continue to operate the Fund, declare that their Fund is a complying investment and issue interests to SIV investors who were nominated and invited to apply for the visa before 24 April and who make their visa application within the 60 day timeframe (notwithstanding that they may not be invited to invest until after 30 June 2015);
  •  should not issue interests in their Fund to investors to whom the new regulations will apply.

Operators whose funds are complying investments now and will also be a complying investment under the new regulations that apply on and from 1 July 2015 will not be impacted except to the extent that SIV applicants may, under the new regulations, only be able to invest a portion of their $5 million investment that remains after they invest in the proposed mandatory components.

Further Government announcements expected

Detailed information about the new proposals for complying investments are yet to be released.