Significant Business History Stream

The recent release of the new entrepreneur stream under the Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) programme was met with a lot of excitement, but this visa has proven more limited than expected. One of the requirements involve acquiring third party funding from an approved list; the ‘innovative’ idea needs to convince a funding body or multiple funding bodies. There are other restrictions too – the ‘innovative idea’ cannot be in residential real estate, labour hire or the purchase of existing enterprises or franchises in Australia.

Read: Entrepreneur Stream for Subclass 188

But being a great business person does not always involve new inventive ideas. What are the other options are there for the business savvy?

If you’re already an established business owner, the Business Talent Visa (Subclass 132) – significant business history stream might be right for you.Let’s go through the basic requirements:

  • Under 55 years of age
  • Overall successful business career
  • No involvement in unacceptable business activities
  • Genuine desire to own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia
  • Total net business and personal assets of the applicant or applicant and partner amounts to at least AUD$1.5 million and can be moved to Australia within two years of a visa grant
  • Total net assets of the applicant or applicant and partner is at least AUD$400,000 as ownership interest in one or more qualifying businesses for at least two out of four fiscal years. If the business is a publicly listed company, the shareholding must be at least 10% of total issued capital
  • Minimum annual turnover for the main business must yield at least AUD$3 million in one or more of your main businesses in at least two of four fiscal years before being invited to apply


Overall successful business

The applicant should not have been declared bankrupt in the 5 years before application, involved in a business that suffered significant financial difficulties such as large losses or receivership, and would not continue to be viable in the long term as a result of the applicant’s role and decisions in the business. In the latter instance, the circumstances surrounding the decline of the business will be examined, such as the presence of extenuating external factors and the applicant’s business history.


Transferred in 2 years

Assets amounting to $1.5 million must be able to be transferred to Australia within 2 years of a visa grant. This simply means that the assets tied up in pension schemes, trusts, bonds and long term fixed deposits that cannot be touched in 2 years cannot be considered as part of the $1.5 million.


Qualifying business

A qualifying business is one that is operated for the purpose of making profit through the provision of good and/or services (other than the provision of rental property) to the public and is not operated primarily or substantially for the purpose of speculative or passive investment.


Main business

For a business to be considered a main business, the application must hold ownership interest which is:

  • At least 51% if the business with a turnover of less than AUD$400,000 a year
  • At least 30% if the business with turnover of more than AUD$400,000 a year
  • At least 10% if it is a publicly listed company


Business intentions

This is a state/territory nominated visa. The applicant will need to apply to a state/territory, meeting their state-specific criteria, before they can lodge an application with the DIBP. It is therefore important to check your intended state’s nomination criteria for this business. For example, the DIBP does not require a business plan as part of the application, but New South Wales (NSW) requires a business plan to be submitted in order to gain nomination approval.


EOI system

An applicant will need to submit an expression of interest (EOI) and nominate their chosen state to gain state approval. If successful, the DIBP will contact the applicant to invite the applicant to apply. This process is similar to the process for general skilled migration 489/190 visa applications. Once an invitation to apply is received, the applicant will have 60 days to submit their application to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Want to understand more about the state nomination process? Read about state nominated 190 visas here

Visit the state’s official websites for more information on their respective requirements:

Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
VictoriaWestern Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia

Evidence surrounding your business(es) and assets would make up the bulk of the documentation that you will need to provide for this visa. It is important that financial documents are provided to International Accounting Standards and these must be produced by an independent accountant. These include papers showing shareholder interest, financial statements and anything to support that you meet the requirements above and your business(es) is/are sound. View the checklist on the DIBP site to read more about important documents.

Still unsure? Or just too busy? A good migration agent can really help you through this process. Delegating, right?