Subclass 888:
Business Innovation and Investment Visa

Permanent Residency Through Investment Visa Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide

The Business Innovation and Investment visa is a permanent visa the second stage of the permanent residency process for business and investor applicants holding Subclass 188 visas in their corresponding streams, or people in the special category holding Subclass 444 visas. It is generally required that applicants hold a 188 visa subclass, or, in rare circumstances, the 444 visa subclass. For successful transition to Subclass 888 visas, there are a number of additional prerequisites that need to be satisfied. Note that applicants must also continue to comply with he conditions of their provisional visa until such time as the visa subclass 888 application is finalized.

The primary applicant must have no history of unacceptable business activities and must have a genuine and realistic commitment to continue business or investment activities in Australia.

Also note that for most applications for an investment visa, Australia requires some level of proof of past business or investments success. Simply having sufficient finds to finance the Australia visa investment will not be sufficient.

Streams of Subclass 888:

For applications by a holder of a 188 visa, the 888 visa is divided into 4 streams which mirror the streams available under the visa subclass 188 provisional visa, less the two kinds of 188 visa extension stream. These streams include:

888A – Business Innovation Stream:

Requisite Time

The primary applicant must hold a Subclass 188 visa in the Business Innovation Stream for at least 4 years in order to apply for an 888 visa under its business innovation stream.

Residence in Australia

The primary applicant must be present in Australia as a holder of a business innovation stream 188 visa for a period of at least 1 year in aggregate in the 2 years immediately prior to the 888 visa application being lodged. Failure to have maintained presence in Australia for this duration will result in ineligibility for the business innovation and investment permanent visa.

Ownership Interest

The primary applicant has, and continues to have ownership interest in at least one actively operating business in Australia in the 2 years immediately prior to the application for the successful 888 visa to be ranted. The requisite ownership is equal to or more than:

  • 51% – when the annual turnover of a business is less than $400,000, or
  • 30% – when the annual turnover of a business is more than $400,000, or
  • 10% – when the business is a publicly listed company on an Australian securities exchange.

Business Acquisition

There is an additional stipulation to meet if the main business is bought from a person who has applied for or held a business visa themselves. The primary applicant, who is the buyer, must show that ownership of the business has been shared with the seller for at least 1 year prior to the current application at the time of the business acquisition. Prior to the purchase of an Australian business, it is therefore crucial for applicants to verify that the seller is not a business visa holder or applicant themselves.

Active Business Management

The primary applicant must submit the ABN and business activity statements lodged with the Australian Taxation Office for the 2 years prior to the 888 Business Innovation and Investment permanent visa application. In addition, his or her involvement in the main business must be demonstrated with a role of direct and continuous management.

Business Turnover

As a general rule, the main business must have generated at least $300,000 in turnover in the last 12 months prior to the application. The definition of turnover encapsulates revenue generated in the ordinary course of business activities. As a nominating State or Territory authority reserves discretionary power, the applicant may seek waiver for this requirement.

Business Criteria – “2 out of 3” Requirements

Unless waiver is approved and granted by the nominating State or Territory authority, the applicant needs to satisfy at least 2 out of the following 3 criteria, note that these include assets owned by the applicant, their spouse or de facto partner or the applicant and his or her spouse or partner jointly:

  • Personal Assets in the Business: The assets owned in the main businesses in Australia must have a minimum net value of $200,000 and had so in the 12 months immediately before the application was made.
  • Australian Employees: The main business in Australia, or main businesses in Australia provided employment in Australia to 2 or more employees for a total number of hours that would at least be the total number of hours that would have been worked by 2 full time employees.
  • Net Personal and Business Assets: The business and personal assets had a net value of at least $600,000. This applies to the 12 month period ending immediately before the application was made and said assets continue to have this net value.

Lawful Acquisition of Assets

Assets must have been lawfully acquired, which must be proven with evidence as part of the application.

888B – Investor Stream:

Requisite Time and Residence

The primary applicant must have been in an investor stream of the 188 business innovation and investment visa to Australia for at least 4 years. The applicants must also be present in Australia as the holders on this stream for an aggregate period of 2 years within the last 4 years.

Designated Investment means proscribed investments in a security issued by an Australian State or Territory government authority of $1.5 million. In Australia, this visa option is not any cheaper in terms of investment threshold.

888C: Significant Investor Stream:

Requisite Time and Residence

The primary applicant must have held a Subclass 188C visa for at least 4 years, and hold the “complying significant investment” for the whole of the time. The applicant must have resided for a cumulative 180 days per year, for the last 4 years preceding the application for their visa subclass 888.

Complying Significant Investment refers to a series of investments in a sum over $5 million with a proscribed composition. For more information on the makeup of the aforementioned significant investor stream fund, please see our blog post on the 188 visa.

888D: Premium Investor Stream:

Requisite Time

The primary applicant must have held a Subclass 188D visa and the complying premium investment for at least 1 year before commencing a subclass 888 application.

Complying Premium Investment consists of a minimum sum of $15 million. The permissible contents is governed by complex rules of Austrade.

888E: Entrepreneur Stream:

Requisite Time

The primary applicant must have held a Subclass 188E visa for a continuous period of at least 4 years immediately before the application is submitted, and have demonstrated overall a successful record of entrepreneurial activities in Australia while holding the visa.

Residence in Australia

The primary applicant has been present in Australia as a holder of a Subclass 188E visa for at least 2 years of the last 4 years preceding the application.

Successful Record of Entrepreneurial Activities

For the grant of a Subclass 888E visa, the primary applicant needs to satisfy either:

  • 2 key success factors; or
  • 1 key success factor and 3 supporting success factors.

Key success factors include:

  • Employing 2 or more eligible persons;
  • Annual turnover of $300,000 minimum;
  • Filing a provisional patent or acquiring a standard or innovation patent;
  • Receiving ongoing funding or investment;
  • University partnership;
  • Selling an entrepreneurial venture for $2 million.

Supporting factors include:

  • Adapting the entrepreneurial activities into other business areas;
  • Receiving a statement of success from a Government nominator;
  • Receiving corporate sector sponsorship;
  • Starting at least 1 other business or contributing to at least 2 other businesses;
  • Receiving formal awards or recognition;
  • Raising or contributing to social capital.

Entrepreneurial activities do not include:

  • Residential real estate;
  • Labour hire;
  • Buying an existing enterprise or a franchise.

Application Charges

  • Primary 888 visa applicant: $2,590
  • Secondary 888 visa applicant 18 years old and over: $1,300
  • Secondary 888 visa applicant under 18 years old: $645
  • Adult 888 visa applicants who cannot demonstrate functional English may attract an additional charge, unless a comparable charge has been paid in relation to a subclass 188 visa.

The investment visa Australia scheme has led the world in recent years, beating out other traditional recipient nations. It would be wise to continue reforming the framework in a timely manner to remain competitive with the plethora of options afforded to high net worth individuals.

For more information on any stream this visa, feel free to get in touch with us.

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