Business Innovation Stream and Investor Stream 188 Visas
The business visa points test is different from the general skilled migration visa’s points test. The points test only applies to two streams on the Business Innovation and Investor (Subclass 188) visa; the business innovation stream and the investor stream. You will also need to meet a minimum of 65 points to be eligible for the visa.
Here’s a neat one page points test sheet created by Australian Immigration Law Services that you can use.
The categories are as follows:
- English Language Ability
- Financial Assets
- Business Turnover
- Business Innovation Qualifications
- Special Endorsement
- Business Experience (Business Innovation Stream only)
- Investor Experience (Investor Stream only)
18 to 24 years – 20 points
25 to 32 years – 30 points
33 to 39 years – 25 points
40 to 44 years – 20 points
45 to 54 years – 15 points
55 years (max) – 0 points
The applicant is awarded points accordingly at the applicant’s age the time of invitation (not at the time of submission of EOI). A waiver on the maximum age may be attained if the state or territory considers that your proposed business be of significant economic benefit to that nominated state or territory.
English Language Ability
Vocational – 5 points
Proficient – 10 points
Read about the different English language ability levels, the 5 different tests you can take and our reviews the tests
You’ll notice that the competent and superior level English language ability have been excluded here. This is wonderful for those who cannot attain a competent level test result, but unfortunate for those who are at a superior level and will not gain more points.
To demonstrate your proficiency in the English language, you will need to present test results. If your country of passport is the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland, you are taken to have a competent level of English.
Australian trade certificate, diploma or bachelor degree from an Australian institute – 5 points
Bachelor qualification by an education institution of a recognised standard – 5 points
Bachelor degree in business, science or technology by an Australian institution – 10 points
Bachelor qualification in business, science or technology by an education institution of a recognised standard – 10 points
Under this category, the applicant may only claim one qualification. If the applicant holds both an Australian trade certificate as well a bachelor degree in business, he should claim the bachelor degree which holds a higher points value.
The net value of the business and personal assets of the applicant, of the applicant’s partner, or the applicant and partner together, is of the following amounts, in each of the 2 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation:
At least AUD$800,000 – 5 points
At least AUD$1.3 million – 15 points
At least AUD$1.8 million – 25 points
At least AUD$2.25 million – 35 points
Ownership interest in one or more main businesses that had an annual turnover of the following, in at least 2 of the preceding 4 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation :
At least AUD$500,000 – 5 points
At least AUD$1 million – 15 points
At least AUD$1.5 million – 25 points
At least AUD$2 million – 35 points
No more than 2 main businesses can be considered.
Evidence of registered patents or registered designs – 15 points
Evidence of registered trademarks – 10 points
Evidence of formal joint venture agreements – 5 points
Evidence of export trade – 15 points
Evidence of ownership interest in a gazelle business – 10 points
Evidence of receipt of grants or venture capital funding – 10 points
Of the above, the applicant can only claim points once of each of the different innovations. For example, if the applicant has a registered patent and registered trademark, he may claim 15 + 10 = 25 points. If the applicant has a registered patent, a registered design and a registered trademark, he still may only claim 15 + 10 = 25 points as registered patent and registered design call under the same category and may only be claimed once.
The DIBP defines a registered patent as:
“A registered patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state (a national government) to an inventor or their assignee in relation to an invention, which may be a product or a process, for a certain limited period, in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.”
The DIBP defines a registered design as:
“A registered design is concerned with the appearance of products if they are new and distinctive – that is, the features of shape or configuration that have been incorporated in the product or the features of pattern or ornamentation applied to a product. Registration provides the right to prevent unauthorised parties applying the design (or a design that is substantially similar in overall impression to the registered design) to products in respect of which the design is registered, and to prevent certain commercial dealings in such products bearing the design or a sufficiently similar design, for a certain limited period.”
Applicant, or main business of applicant must have at least one or more patents/designs that were registered not less than one year before the time of invitation and were used in the day to day activities of the main business.
The applicant or main business of applicant must own the registered patent/design; the applicant does not need to be the creator. If the visa applicant became an owner as a result of a transfer, documentary evidence of the transfer of ownership of the patent/design must be provided. The period for which a registered patent/design is owned for starts from the date of grant or registration and not the date of application.
Patent/design registration documents should include identification numbers, explanation of the patent/design, dates, creator, applicant and owner information. Applicants must also provide a detailed statement outlining how the registered patent/design is relevant to the day to day operations of the business.
Applicant, or main business of applicant, have one or more registered trademarks that were registered to less than a year before the time of invitation, and were used in the day to day activities of the main business
The applicant must own the trademark. In the same way as registered patents/designs, if the trademark ownership has been transferred, transfer documents must be provided as evidence. The DIBP counts the period for which a registered trademark is owned from the date of grant or registration. Trademark documents should contain information on identification numbers, the representation of the trademark, classification of the trademark, dates, applicant, owner and status.
Evidence of continuous use of the trademark in the business as a means to identify goods and services needs to be provided. Evidence may include packaging, labels, websites, advertisements and business documents (non exhaustive list).
At least one main business in which the applicant holds ownership interest, entered into a formal joint venture agreement with another business or businesses, the agreement was entered into no less than a year before the time of invitation, and the applicant has actively managed the business.
Examples of types of joint ventures:
- An incorporated joint venture is a company in which the joint venture parties have shareholdings proportional to their joint venture interests
- An unincorporated joint venture is where the joint venture parties enter into a contractual relationship to pursue a particular activity together without forming a separate legal entity
- Joint ventures may also take the form of unit trusts or partnerships
Applicants will need to provide the joint venture agreement, as well as evidence that the joint venture has operated in accordance with the contractual agreement. A detailed statement demonstrating how the applicant has actively involved at a senior level it the day to day management of the business must also be included.
Read more how the DIBP defines active management of business(es)
At least one main business held by the applicant had at least 50% of its annual turnover from export trade in 2 years out of the preceding 4 years immediately before the time of invitation.
Export trade is the sale of goods across the national borders of one country to another. In the case the the applicant’s business is acting as the export agent, only service revenue may be counted, and not the sale value of goods. The DIBP will look in favor of experience in export trade that targets entities/countries who are likely to engage in exporting Australian goods and services.
Financial statements and tax reports should have sufficient information to fulfil this criteria. The applicant should also provide a summary of all export transactions and documentation for a sample portion of some of these transactions, for example, with sales contracts, invoices, certificates of value, airway bills and so forth.
Gazelle businesses are newly established businesses that are experiencing rapid growth over a short period of time.
At least one main business was established no earlier than 5 years before the time of invitation, has enjoyed an average annualised growth in turnover that was greater than 20% per annum over 3 continuous fiscal years, and in at least one of those 3 fiscal years, has employed 10 or more employees for the total number of hours that would be equivalent to the hours worked by 10 full time employees.
Grants or venture capital funding
The applicant or at least one main business in which the applicant holds ownership interest, has received a grant for any of the following:
- Early phase start up of business
- Product commercialisation
- Business development
- Business expansion
The grant must have amounted to at least AUD$10,000, was awarded by a government body in the applicant’s home country, and must not have been received more than 4 years before the time of invitation,
The applicant will also be eligible to claim points in this category for receiving venture capital funding of at least aud$100,000 not more than 4 years before the time of invitation for any of the following:
- Early phase start up of business
- Product commercialisation
- Business development
- Business expansion
If the nominating state/territory government has determined that the business proposed by the applicant is of unique and important benefit to the nominating state/territory – 10 points
This is not something that can be applied for, but the state/territory assessing your application will decide on if to award.
Business experience (Business Innovation stream)
The applicant has held one or more main businesses for:
At least 4 years in the 5 years immediately before the time of invitation – 10 points
At least 7 years in the 8 years immediately before the time of invitation – 15 points
The applicant will need to demonstrate that they have maintained consistent involvement in key level decisions and management of the business in a manner than has direct impact on the operation of the company. The success of the business is not relevant for awarding points, however as an overall successful business career is a criteria for the business innovation stream 188 visa, it would be pertinent to only include the best examples.
Investor experience (Investor stream)
The applicant held, immediately before the time of invitation, eligible investments of a value:
Not less than AUD$100,000 for at least 4 years – 10 points
Not less than AUD$100,000 for at least 7 years – 15 points
The applicant will need to demonstrate that they are experienced in investment activity and have exercised skill in the acquirement of their investments. Investment via a broker or financial advisor will not be representative of the applicant’s experience. To claim points in this category, applicants must provide:
- Statement of Assets and Liabilities Positions (SALP) and documentary evidence on the net value of assets throughout the 2 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation
- Evidence for the first year – if the applicant is claiming 5 years, he must provide documents on investment activity in the first year of that 5 years, and if the applicant is claiming more than 7 years, evidence should be provided for the first year of the 7 years immediately before the time of application
- SALP for every year of experience that the applicant wishes to claim, showing eligible asset value to be at least AUD$100,000 throughout the years
- Statement of management of the investments over the claimed investment period
Read: Investor Stream 188 visa
When calculating the points that you want to claim, be careful to give notice to the terms used. For example, some eligibility criterion indicate years and others fiscal years.
The points test is not the be all and end all for getting your visa; it is only one criteria out of many other. You will notice overlaps in evidence for the points test and in the other eligibility factors. It’s a lot to organise and can be quite confusing. We recommended engaging a professional, like us!