Australia is rolling out the red carpet for wealthy expats by offering a ‘golden ticket’ that bypasses the standard visa process.
Around 700 wealthy foreign investors will be eligible for the scheme that short circuits the immigration procedure, but they will need to invest £3.3 million according to a list of set criteria to win their place.
The ‘Significant Investor Visa’ is run by Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and will relax rules for speaking English and minimum stay requirements.
Chris Bowen MP, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, said such migration was being encouraged to generate investment and was similar to schemes being run in the UK, New Zealand and Canada.
He added: “This is an important new tool as Australia looks to compete in our region for high wealth and highly skilled migrants.”
The criteria includes investment in to infrastructure and real estate in Australia, agribusiness and bonds issued by Australian financial institutions, state or territory governments, as well as bonds or equity in companies listed on the Australian stock market.
The move is being seen by many as a solution to underfunded state-based infrastructure projects and a vital boost to provide backing for the country’s innovation industries such as technology start-ups.
The visa is being launched after accountancy firm Deloitte laid bare the problem with Australian start-ups looking to expand.
In a report, they said that fewer than 5% of Australian start-ups manage to grow in to manageable and sustainable global businesses.
Boost for small business
Deloitte says investors in Australia are reluctant to invest and points to the US where firms can raise 4.8 times more capital from backers in the early stages of development. This grows to an astonishing 100 times more from US investors willing to back a company when they scale their operations up.
A spokesman said the influx in foreign capital may just be the boost some smaller firms are looking for because Asian investors particularly understand how to properly resource a company.
He added: “Start-up companies and entrepreneurs are among the greatest natural resource in this country, but we often choose to starve them of capital they need to succeed.”
Expats looking at move to Australia who want to invest in a company will have to have ensure that the business qualifies for the scheme.
The company will also have to register with the Australian Securities and Investment.