29 August 2012

New Australian visa program targets foreign investment

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Details of a new category of Australia visa designed to allow foreign investors to move to Australia if they are willing to invest AU$5 million in the country have been announced.

Australia visa

Australia is hoping to attract foreign investment to help support its growing cities.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen took the opportunity to justify the amount outline the ways in which the money must be used within the country's economy before an investor can be granted a visa as well as explain the concessions made to investors.

"The AU$5 million minimum is considered to be sufficient for a meaningful contribution," said Mr Bowen, "justifying eligibility for visa concessions such as not having to meet the points test, no upper age limit and access to reduced residence requirements."

The new program was first announced in May but specific details have only just been released; applicants will need to invest their AU$5 million (£3.3 million) in state and territory government bonds, unlisted private Australia companies or managed funds regulated by the Australian Security Investment Commission.

The visa will remain valid for four years with an option to extend that period an extra two years. The residency requirement will be set at just 160 days and holders will be permitted to satisfy that requirement at any point in the first four years.

Australia joins the UK and the US in allowing wealthy investors to bypass typical visa wait times and restrictions before being allowed to move to a country but Mr Bowen says investors will be held to a different set of standards.

"Where visa holders choose to invest directly into Australian companies, these companies will need to meet certain qualifying business standards."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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