Significant and Premium Investor Visa Programme framework update

The enhanced Significant Investor Visa (SIV) and new Premium Investor Visa (PIV) complying investment framework arrangements were announced on 15 May 2015. The arrangements will be in effect from 1 July 2015. Austrade will also become a nominator for the SIV, alongside State and Territory Governments, and will be the sole nominator for the PIV.Significant Investor Visa 
Under the new framework, SIV applicants will be required to invest at least $5 million over four years in complying investments, which, under the new rules, must 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); and
  • 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).
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 enhanced SIV is intended to encourage investment in areas of thin capital flows, such as the commercialisation of high quality Australian ideas, research and development.Premium Investor Visa
The Government intends to introduce a new Premium Investor Visa (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.

It is understood that PIV will be available at the invitation of the Australian Government, with applicants 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.

These reforms to SIV and introduction of PIV were announced by the Prime Minister in October 2014 as part of the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. As of 31 March 2015, the Commonwealth Government granted 751 visas nationally, of which 428 were granted to Victorian nominated investors, 245 to NSW nominated investors, and the remainder to other jurisdictions.

Further information on the new complying investment framework for the SIV and PIV can be found on Austrade.

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