Zach Featherstone10

ISL has taken an interest in the review of the Significant Investor Visa (‘SIV’). The SIV is an exciting and relatively new visa stream within the Business Innovation and Investor Programme (‘BIIP’). The SIV was introduced to provide a streamlined avenue to attaining permanent residency for high-net-worth individuals who will make a minimum investment of $5 million in the Australian economy. It is an attractive visa because applicants are afforded concessions in regards to the normal visa requirements such as; removal of the points test, relaxed residency requirements, and no maximum age limit.

On March 7th 2013 Scott Morrison, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, announced a review of the SIV. The review aimed to make the visa more successful by seeking to expand the current list of eligible assets, make the residency requirements less stringent, speed up approvals, and increase the international promotion of the programme.

The deficiencies in the visa prevented it from being successfully implemented. For example, processing times were too long; 9 months was a deterrent for potential applicants. Residency requirements were also too strict; visa holders were finding it difficult to meet the requirements whilst also managing to conduct their business effectively overseas. This was another deterrent for applicants. The restricted list of eligible assets was another deficiency of the visa. The list only included Commonwealth/State or Territory government bonds, direct investment into Australian proprietary companies not listed on the Australian stock exchange, and managed funds regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission with a mandate for investing in Australia. Failing to incorporate intermediated investments through venture capital and private equity funds was a major shortcoming of the visa. These deficiencies can be seen in the statistics. By the 31st of March 2014 only 174 primary visa grants had been made.

ISL believes it is important to rectify these problems due to the great potential benefits to be gained from it. For example, the SIV will create more jobs for Australians, attract high-net-worth individuals, strengthen our trade links with international markets, and it may lead to further investments in the Australian economy.

ISL is enthusiastic about helping changes to the visa occur. ISL was asked to make a submission to the Department on the BIIP, as well as the SIV more specifically. ISL also attended and spoke at the public hearing on the BIIP to provide recommendations concerning changes and how to implement them.

Company: Immigration Solutions Lawyers
Phone: +61 (2) 9264 6432
Address: Suite 1304, World Tower
87-89 Liverpool Street
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia