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Australia Business Skills Migration

Australia’s Business Skills Program encourages successful business people to settle in Australia and use their proven business attributes to develop business activity in Australia.

Background

Successive governments have re-affirmed a commitment to selecting high quality business migrants, in recognition of the benefits they contribute to Australia's increasingly global economy. They bring with them knowledge of overseas markets, business networks, cultural practices and languages other than English, as well as their specific business skills and experience.

Business migrants benefit Australia by:

  • developing international markets
  • transferring capital and making investments
  • creating or maintaining employment
  • exporting Australian goods and services
  • introducing new or improved technology
  • substituting Australian-made products for goods that would otherwise be imported, and
  • adding to commercial activity and competitiveness within sectors of the Australian economy.

Source Locations

In 2003-04 the top ten source locations of citizenship for Business Skills visa grants were: China, United Kingdom, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan, Zimbabwe, South Korea, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

Structure of the Business Skills Program

Since 1 March 2003, the majority of all Business Skills migrants enter Australia initially on a provisional (temporary) visa for four years and, after satisfactory evidence of a specified level of business or investment activity, may apply for permanent residence. These arrangements continue to provide for the entry of business owners, senior executives and investors.

The pathway to permanent residence is designed to give clarity and certainty to provisional business migrants and relies upon the establishment and management of genuine business activity in Australia.

High calibre business migrants may apply for a Business Talent visa to obtain direct permanent residence if they have high level business attributes and are sponsored by a state or territory government agency.

The Business Skills visa grant outcome for 2003-04 was 5670.

State Specific Initiatives

Australia is actively encouraging Business Skills entrants to set up businesses in regional, rural or low growth areas of Australia.

To assist this objective, the shared interests of State and Territory governments have been given greater priority in ongoing development of the two-stage processing arrangements.

Applicants may seek sponsorship from a state or territory government. Sponsorship provides access to concessional criteria, as well as enabling sponsors to attract the kinds of business people they are seeking to assist in the economic development of their specific areas. This linkage also encourages applicants who are more committed to succeeding in business in Australia.

In 2003-04, state/territory agencies approved more than 1490 sponsorship applications, and around 85 per cent of all business skills provisional visa applications were state/territory sponsored.

The Business Skills Visa categories

(i) Business Talent (Migrant)(subclass 132) is for high calibre business people who are owners or part owners of an overseas business and have an overall successful business career, significant business assets and have a genuine and realistic commitment to participate as a principal in the management of a new or existing business. This category must be sponsored by a state/territory government.

(ii) Business Skills (Provisional) visas A Business Skills (Provisional) visa is valid for four years.

  • Business Owner (Provisional)(subclass 160/163) is for people with a successful business career, including senior management or ownership, who have significant business assets and have a genuine and realistic commitment to participate as a principal in the management of a new or existing business. Applicants in this category may be sponsored by a state/territory government.

  • Senior Executive (Provisional)(subclass 161/164) is for senior executive employees of major overseas businesses who have been responsible for strategic policy development affecting a major component or a wide range of operations of that business, who have significant net assets and a genuine and realistic commitment to participate as a principal in the management of a new or existing business. Applicants in this category may be sponsored by a state/territory government.

  • Investor (Provisional) (subclass 162/165) is for investors/business people who have an overall successful record of business or investment activities, have significant net assets, are willing to invest funds in a designated investment in Australia for four years and have a genuine commitment to maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants in this category may be sponsored by a state/territory government.

(iii) Business Skills (Residence) Visas

The Business Skills (Residence) category of visa is the second stage of Business Skills entry providing for permanent stay in Australia with a resident return facility valid for five years from the date of grant.

  • Business Owner (Residence) (subclass 890/892) is for people who hold a Business Skills (Provisional) visa and have had an ownership interest in a business in Australia for at least 2 years with significant personal and business assets, turnover as well as a minimum number of employees. Applicants must have been in Australia for at least one year in the two years immediately before applying. Applicants in this category may be sponsored by a state/territory government.

  • Investor (Residence) (subclass 891/893) is for people who have held a Investor (Provisional) visa and a Designated Investment for the minimum 4 years and who have lived in Australia for at least 2 years in the four years immediately before the application is made. Applicants in this category may be sponsored by a state/territory government.

Temporary Business (Long Stay)(Independent Executive)(457IE) visa holders are able to apply for permanent residence in the:

  • Established Business in Australia (EBA) category or

  • Regional Established Business in Australia (REBA) category if sponsored by a state/territory government or

  • Business Owner (Residence) category, if sponsored by a state/territory government.

In cases where Independent Executive visa holders are not yet able to meet visa criteria for permanent residence, they are still eligible to apply for an extension of their 457IE visa. If granted, this allows a two year visa extension.

After arrival - obligations of Business Skills visa holders

Business Talent visa holders must provide DIMIA in Australia with a contact address within 6 months of their initial arrival.

Their progress is monitored after arrival and they will be sent a letter requesting details of their business activity 24 months after their initial arrival in Australia.

Where a Business Talent visa holder has not made a genuine effort to obtain a substantial ownership interest in an eligible business, within three years of arrival, they may be liable for visa cancellation under section 134 of the Migration Act 1958.

Business Skills (Provisional) visa holders are required to obtain an ownership interest in a business in Australia or maintain their investment in Australia for four years. If this requirement is not met they may not be eligible to apply for a Business Skills (Residence) visa and may have to leave Australia.

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