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Australia’s Significant Investor Visa or SIV is a permanent visa which will allow you and your immediate family to live, work and do business in Australia. It can also provide a pathway to Australian citizenship and an Australian passport should this be important to you.

This program is currently the subject of a government review and is expected to become somewhat more difficult. Therefore, if you are considering investing, it may be wise to consider it now rather than wait. Stay tuned for more updates.

Who can apply for a Significant Investor Visa or SIV?

Individuals of any age or nationality who are willing and able to:

  • invest AU$5 million into a complying investment in Australia for the length of your provisional visa (5 years)
  • live in Australia for a total of at least 120 days in that three-year period to apply for permanent residency
  • demonstrate where their money has come from (even gifts are acceptable)
  • satisfy health and character checks
  • are invited to apply by a State government

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English Requirements?

There are no English language requirements to be granted a Significant Investor Visa (SIV). Even if you speak no English you can apply, although you and your family will need to pay an additional charge if you do not have at least functional English.

What is a complying investment?

Investments must be made in a compliant way which must include:

  • At least AU$1 million in eligible Australian venture capital or growth private equity (VCPE) fund(s) investing in start-ups and small private companies;
  • At least AU$1.5 million in an eligible managed fund that invests in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange; and
  • A ‘balancing investment’ of at least AU$2.5 million in managed funds that invest in a combination of eligible assets that include companies listed on the Australian stock exchange, Australian corporate bonds or notes, annuities and commercial real estate.

There are a number of investment companies that offer products that are designed to comply fully with the legal requirements. We do not provide advice on which investment product might be best for you but we work closely with these fund managers and can make an introduction.

Acceptable funds

Funds used for the investment for a Significant Investor Visa (SIV) must be able to show that the funds were lawfully obtained, owned by the investor and be unencumbered.

In certain circumstances the funds to be used can be gifted, be in a company or trust.

What is the process for a Significant Investor Visa?

Step 1: Assessment and planning
It is critical that intending Significant Investors fully understand the visa rules for the SIV, the investment rules and any taxation or other implications. We can connect you to a network of trusted advisers for taxation, business structuring, investment advice and relocation assistance to ensure that you have all your bases covered and that you and your family are well looked after.
Step 2: Invitation by a State government
Each Australian state and territory government has its own processes and procedures that we can help you to navigate.
Step 3: Visa application
Once you have been invited by a state or territory, you must lodge your visa application within 60 days. There are a number of particular requirements about how your application must be made and the documents that you need to support it. You and your family will also need to undertake health and character checks.
Step 4: Investment & visa grant
Before being granted the temporary Significant Investor visa you will be invited to make the AU$5 million investment into the complying investment that you have nominated. Once the investment has been made you will be granted the temporary visa which is valid for a period of 5 years.
The temporary Significant Investment visa allows you and your family to live and work in Australia.
Step 5: Spend required time in Australia
Once you have the temporary visa approved you can travel to Australia. As a holder of a Significant Investor visa you and your family are exempt from the current Australian travel restrictions (but will still need to quarantine).
You must them spend at least 40 days a year or 120 days in three years in Australia to be eligible for the permanent visa. If you are not able to spend that much time in Australia, you might still be eligible for a permanent Significant Investor visa provided your spouse has spent at least 150 days a year in Australia for each of the four years before applying. If you do not meet these rules, you may be able to apply for an extension of your temporary visa for another 2 years.
Step 6: Apply for permanent residence
Once you have held the visa for three years (or seven or nine, if extended) you will be eligible to apply for permanent residence. Once granted your investment will be returned to you and you and your family can remain in Australia indefinitely.
Step 7: Apply for Australian citizenship and a passport if you want it
Depending on how many days you have spent in Australia you can be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after you have been a permanent resident for at least one year. Once you have Australian citizenship you become eligible for an Australian passport.

Alternative visas

In some cases, investors may be eligible to apply for another visa such as a Global Talent Independent visa or via an employer sponsored route. We can assess these various options with you to determine which is the best way forward.

We can also assist with investor visas to the USA or Canada.

Next steps

Contact us to discuss your best options.

We are lawyers who help start-ups and high net worth individuals wanting to set up operations in Australia or who are seeking another passport or residence. We are experts in our field who can connect you to a network of trusted advisers for taxation, business structuring, investment advice and relocation assistance to ensure that you have all your bases covered and that you and your business or family are well looked after.

Our advice is completely confidential and is protected by client privilege and governed by the ethical obligations of our profession.

We are interested in your business and future and are interested in forming long-term relationships that will help you grow your business. Talk to us today.

DISCLAIMER This information is current as of date of publication and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Author Ron Kessels

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