Urgent review of investment visa rules needed
The 90% plunge in significant investor visa applications has prompted calls to Trade Minister Andrew Robb to review the program or risk losing an estimated $5 billion to $7 billion investments a year.
Last year’s changes to the SIV program required investors under the SIV program to put funds into venture capital and technology. This change has led to a dramatic fall in the SIV applications from 128 a month to between just eight and 12 a month this financial year, according to a report in The Australian.
West Australian Liberal backbencher Ian Goodenough has told parliament that the decision to exclude property development and established companies from the program “has proved problematic in practice”.
“This is very serious, and as a nation we could be forgoing up to $7.2bn in investment through the business migration program each year due to the recent changes in the program,” Mr Goodenough said.
James Clarke from the Australian China Business Council of West Australia told The Australian that there were concerns that the crash in applications from Chinese investors since July 1 last year meant Australia was “forfeiting more than $5bn per year to competitor markets such as Europe and the UK”.
“With an undeniable drop in application numbers, it can be clearly seen that a serious look needs to be had at the reforms implemented in July 2015, and quick steps be taken to ensure program success,” Mr Clarke said.
Trade Minister defended the changes, but conceded there were fewer visas granted so far, and there would be a lower overall investment.
“We do expect that when the new scheme reaches steady state that the quantum is likely to be lower than under the old rules, but the investment dollars we do attract will be more dynamic investment in areas of the economy where it can make a real difference,” he told The Australian.
There was a “fatal flaw” in the previous scheme, which benefited fund managers and encouraged passive investment in residential property, he said.
Source: Migration Alliance
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