On 1 July 2015, a number of changes to the Migration Regulations and Policy affecting Business Investor Visas were enacted. 

Key changes include:

1.    New Complying Investment Frameworks

The new Significant Investor Visa (SIV) and Premium Investor Visa (PIV) complying investor frameworks have now been released.

The criteria for approval of the permanent SIV (Subclass 888) now differentiate between applications lodged before and after 1 July 2015. To apply for the permanent SIV, the applicant must hold, for a continuous period of four years, a complying investment as defined in the regulations at the time of lodgement of their Subclass 188 Visa.

For further information on the new complying investment framework, please click here for our previous article.

2.    Loanback Arrangements

Loanback arrangements are now prohibited. It is now specifically mentioned in the Migration Regulations that a complying investment must not form the basis for security or collateral for a loan.

3.    AusTrade

Austrade now has a more active role in the Business Investor Visa nomination process. The CEO of Austrade can now nominate applicants for the SIV and is the sole nominator for the PIV.

4.    Subclass 188 Visa Period Extended

Previously granted for four years, the visa period for the Subclass 188 visa has now been extended to four years and three months.

5.    New Residency Requirement for Permanent SIV

The new residency requirement for the permanent SIV (Subclass 888) visa is as follows:

  • The primary applicant to reside in Australia for 40 days per year OR the secondary applicant (spouse only) to reside in Australia for 180 days per year. 
  • There will be no residency requirement for all other secondary applicants.
  • This residency requirement will be per year and be calculated cumulatively over the four year period of the provisional visa, i.e. 160 days over four years for a primary applicant or 720 days over four years for the secondary applicant (spouse).

Note that it is not necessary for the applicant to have been in Australia for 40 days in each year in the period or the applicant’s spouse or de facto partner to have been in Australia for 180 days in each year in the period.

6.    Health Insurance

Subclass 188 Visa applicants are now required to provide evidence of adequate health insurance arrangements with their application. 

Most applicants will require private health insurance cover for their stay in Australia on a Subclass 188visa. However as with the Subclass 457 visa, evidence of enrolment into Medicare or a passport from the Republic of Ireland will also satisfy the health insurance requirement.

457 Market Rate Exemption Disallowance

On 18 April, the market rate exemption for 457 applications was reduced from $250,000 to $180,00 as a result of implementing recommendations made by the Review Committee responsible for assessing the Integrity of the 457 Visa Programme.

In June this year, a motion was passed to disallow this change. From 17 June, 457 nomination applications require market rate evidence unless the applicant is earning at least $250,000 per year.