20 June 2005

Australian Investor Retirement visa to commence 1 July 2005

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Following the announcement earlier this year the Australian Retirement visa (subclass 410) would cease, the Government has announced the details of a replacement visa. The Investor Retirement visa will come into effect 1 July 2005.

Targeting retired business people and professionals, the new visa aims to offer those with significant assets the opportunity to spend some of their retirement years in Australia’s States and Territories.

The proposed nature of the Investor Retirement visa requires significant financial investment in Australia so visa holders are financially self-sufficient and their presence in Australia will be at no cost to the Australian taxpayer.

Following consultations with State and Territory Governments, the new visa provides incentives to encourage settlement in regional/low growth areas offering sponsorship. A two-tiered approach has been developed requiring applicants to nominate, at time of sponsorship, whether they intend to settle in a regional/low growth or a non-regional/non-low growth area.

Place of intended settlement will determine the level of funds required to satisfy the financial criterion. In line with the two-tier approach, reduced thresholds will apply for the required.

More specifically, the Investor Retirement visa has the following characteristics:

• for the first or initial visa application, main applicant would be 55 years or older (spouse could be under 55 years of age);

• for the initial and all subsequent visa applications, payment of a second visa application charge of $8,000 per person per visa application to offset the possible cost of some applicants accessing aged care/nursing home services at a future time (not refundable, regardless of whether care is utilised during the life of the visa);

• for the initial and all subsequent visa applications main applicant to be sponsored by a State/Territory Government with sponsorship being maintained for the entire period of the applicant's stay in Australia;

• for the initial and all subsequent visa applications, main applicant to make a minimum designated investment (DI) (depending on whether they nominate a regional/low growth area or a non-regional/non-low growth area)in a State or Territory Treasury bond of:

(a) A$750,000 for the initial visa, if the main applicant has indicated to the State or Territory Government sponsor that they are going to live in a non-regional or non-low growth area; or

(b) A$500,000 for the initial visa, if the main applicant has indicated to the State or Territory Government sponsor that they are going to live in a regional or low growth area; or

(c) A$500,000 for a second or further visa, if the main applicant has indicated to the State or Territory Government sponsor that they are going to live in a non-regional or non-low growth area; or

(d) A$250,000 for a second or further visa, if the main applicant has indicated to the State or Territory Government sponsor that they are going to live in a regional or low growth area;

• in addition to the DI, and for grant of the initial visa only, main applicant to provide evidence of assets that can be used to establish a lifestyle in Australia, with those assets allowed to be combined with those of the spouse, of a minimum of:

- A$750,000 if the main applicant has indicated to the State or Territory Government sponsor that they are going to live in a non-regional or non-low growth area; or

- A$500,000 if the main applicant has indicated to the State or Territory Government sponsor that they are going to live in a regional or low growth area;

• for the initial and all subsequent visa applications, the main applicant to provide evidence of an annual income stream, with that income stream allowed to be combined with income stream of their spouse, of a minimum of;

- $65,000 if the main applicant has indicated to the State or Territory Government sponsor that they will live in a non-regional or non-low growth area; or

- $50,000 if the main applicant has indicated to the State or Territory Government sponsor that they will live in a regional or low growth area.

• for the initial and all subsequent visa applications, each applicant to provide evidence that they hold a private health insurance package that meets the Department of Health and Ageing guidelines (that is, the package provides cover equivalent to that provided to under Medicare) throughout their period of stay in Australia;

• each applicant to have limited work rights of 20 hours per week, to allow visa holders to pursue activities such as volunteer work or investment management without breaching visa conditions;

• each applicant to meet full migration health and character criteria for the first or initial visa only and to satisfy streamlined health and character for further visa applications;

• each applicant must have no dependants other than a spouse; and

• initial maximum period of stay would be 4 years, renewable if applicant continues to meet criteria, for an additional 4 years.


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