On 24 November 2012, the Australia Government through the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (‘DIAC’) introduced the Significant Investor visa as part of the Business Innovation and Investment stream of visas.
The Visa Application
For visa applicants to be eligible for a Significant Investor visa, the applicant must firstly:
- Submit an expression of interest in SkillsSelect which has been set up by DIAC as a program to be determine the economic needs of Australia from time to time. SkillsSelect will also ascertain what designated investment or complying investments in Australia are eligible for the purposes of making the application for a Significant Investor Visa;
- be nominated by a State or Territory Government; and
- make investments of at least $5,000,000 AUD into complying investments.
- Visa applicants do not need to satisfy a number of other key criteria under the Business Innovation and Investment stream. There is no age limit which has been a prohibiting factor in a number of prior business visas offered to potential applicants.
- Complying investments for the Significant Investor visa include:
- Commonwealth, State or Territory government bonds;
- Australia Securities and Investment Commission (‘ASIC’) regulated managed funds with a mandate for investing in Australia; and
- direct investment into Australia proprietary companies.
Visa applicants, who hold investments in each of the above investment options may also change between complying investments, provided they meet the specified reinvestment requirements.
When making the investment necessary to satisfy the criteria for a Significant Investor visa, care must be given to ensure that the subclass regulations are properly complied with. This may necessitate taking proper advice in order to structure the investment holdings in a way that achieves compliance with the relevant regulations and providing the applicant with the most suitable protected structure for the investment itself.
Since the inception of the Significant Investor visa, there have been a number of newly created managed funds regulated through ASIC established to set in the catering to applicants for a Significant Investor visa. Any applicant intending to make an investment in such a managed fund should seek proper legal and financial advice from appropriately qualified professionals in order to ascertain whether that particular managed fund is properly compliant and registered with ASIC, and with the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). A number of managed funds that have been set up and have not been tried and tested, should be properly vetted with due diligence undertaken by any willing applicant to ensure that despite that managed fund being legally compliant that it is also an investment that is both legally and commercially sound.
Should you require any assistance in either corporate compliance advice, due diligence or assistance in preparing and lodging a Significant Investor visa, feel free to contact one of our specialised lawyers or migration agents where we can assist your requirements as needed.
By John Ramsden, Lawyer and Managing Partner of Ramsden Lawyers.
31 Jan 2013