Today the Government announced the new complying investment framework for the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) and Premium Investor Visa (PIV) programme. The Government intends that the framework will be implemented from 1 July 2015 and will encourage investment into innovative Australian ideas and emerging companies. Austrade will also become a nominator for the SIV, alongside State and Territory Governments, and the sole nominator for the PIV.
The new arrangements are part of the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, announced by the Prime Minister in October 2014. Since the announcement, Austrade has undertaken extensive consultations with interested stakeholders, including public consideration of complying investment design options through two rounds of public written submissions (receiving approximately 170 submissions). Austrade and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will continue to consult with stakeholders to explain the investment framework ahead of the changes to the programme being implemented on 1 July 2015.
Under the new framework, SIV applicants will be required to invest at least $5 million over four years in complying investments, which must now include:
- At least $500,000 in eligible Australian venture capital or growth private equity fund(s) investing in start-up and small private companies. The Government expects to increase this to $1 million for new applications within two years as the market responds;
- At least $1.5 million in an eligible managed fund(s) or Listed Investment Companies (LICs) that invest in emerging companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX); an
- A ‘balancing investment’ of up to $3 million in managed fund(s) or LICs that invest in a combination of eligible assets that include other ASX listed companies, eligible corporate bonds or notes, annuities and real property (subject to the 10% limit on residential real estate).
Previously, investment through the SIV programme was largely going into passive investments like government bonds and residential real estate funds – areas that already attract large capital flows.
Direct investment in real estate has never been a complying investment for SIV and this will not change under the new arrangements. Indirect investment in residential real estate through managed funds will also now be limited. Importantly, a SIV holder can still independently invest in residential real estate so long as it complies with foreign investment rules, but this would not count as a complying investment to qualify for a visa.
The Government intends to introduce a new PIV from 1 July 2015 targeting talented entrepreneurs and innovators. The PIV will offer an accelerated 12 month pathway to permanent residency, for those meeting a $15 million threshold. The PIV will be available at the invitation of the Australian Government only, with potential recipients to be nominated by Austrade. This programme will be rolled out over the next year, focussing on attracting a small number of highly talented and entrepreneurial individuals. States and Territories will play an important role in helping to identify potential applicants.
A link to the Government’s announcement and further information on the new complying investment framework for the SIV and PIV can be found on Austrade’swebpage Information on the process of applying for a SIV can be found on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s webpage.