The Australian government announced the plans for a Significant Investor visa programme in its May budget release.

On 29 August 2012, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship announced the further planning details for this much anticipated visa.

Subject to legislative changes, the visa is to commence from 24 November 2012.

The proposed change

The significant investor visa will be part of the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (Subclass 188) visa and the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) (Subclass 888) visa. It will offer greater flexibility in terms of investment structure and eligibility regarding age and residence requirements.

The primary visa applicant must:

  • Submit an expression of interest in SkillSelect.
  • Se nominated by a state or territory government.
  • Make investments of at least 5 million Australian dollars into complying investments.

For business skills migrants, traditionally the choice for complying investments has been limited to Australian state or territory government bonds. Under the Significant Investor Visa, applicants will also be able to make complying investments into ASIC regulated, managed funds or direct investments in Australian companies.

The following concessions, which are not available under other visa streams within the Business Innovation and Investment visa programme, will be available under the Significant Investor visa stream.

  • Upper age limit is removed.
  • Points test is removed.
  • Reduced residence requirement compared with other visa streams.


Potential visa applicants are cautioned that other additional visa application requirements, for instance the personal asset requirement, would generally apply. Primary visa applicants and their family members are usually expected to have other financial resources which can be used toward their settlement and life in Australia. These additional visa requirements will be announced later this year. Future client alerts will be published by PwC Immigration as further details and legislative instruments become available.