Subclass 188A :
Business Innovation Visa

The Business Innovation stream is intended for individuals looking to establish and operate a business in Australia. Applicants who do not wish to engage in a business should consider alternative streams or subclasses. Valid visa application under this stream prerequisites invitation through Skillselect and nomination by a State authority.

Primary Criteria

To qualify under this stream, a primary applicant must satisfy all of the following:
  • Applicant has achieved a minimum score of 65 on the Schedule 7A points test, and was invited, in writing, by the Minister to apply for the visa;
  • Applicant has not turned 55 at the time of invitation, or is proposing to establish or participate in business or investment activities that the nominating State or Territory authority has determined is of exceptional economic benefit to the State or Territory in which the authority is located;
  • Applicant has overall had a successful record of business career;
  • Applicant has had an ownership interest in a main business with an annual turnover of $500,000 for at least 2 of the 4 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation;
  • Applicant has a genuine need to reside in Australia for the purpose of their proposed Australian business;
  • Applicant has a realistic commitment to establish a qualifying business or participate in an existing qualifying business;
  • Applicant’s involvement in the business for at least 2 of the 4 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation predominantly concerned general direction and operation of the business, as opposed to mere provision of the services, if the business was providing professional, technical or trade services;
  • Applicant had a total value of business and personal assets in a minimum sum of $800,000 at the time of invitation that can be applied to the establishment or conduct of a business in Australia within 2 years after the visa grant;
  • Applicant’s net value of the business and personal assets is sufficient to enable settlement in Australia.
  • State Nomination

    As part of the nomination application, a business proposal needs to be drafted and submitted to the nominating State for review and decision on whether to accept. The assessment criteria varies in different States. The below table provides a non-exhaustive list of examples of divergence amongst the 3 most popular nominating States:

    New South Wales

  • Requisite Value of Business Investment: AUD$500,000 (metro) AUD$300,000 (regional) Business investment must be in: Property Plant & equipment, Inventory, or Purchased goodwill.
  • Requisite Funds for Settlement Activity: N/A
  • Minimum Net Assets: AUD$1,300,000 (metro), AUD$800,000 (regional)
  • Excluded Business Types (exemptions apply): Unspecified
  • Minimum Points: 65
  • Queensland

  • Requisite Value of Business Investment: AUD$200,000
  • Requisite Funds for Settlement Activity: N/A
  • Minimum Net Assets: AUD$800,000
  • Excluded Business Types (exemptions apply): Small retail business*; General importing business**; Property development.
  • Minimum Points: 65
  • Victoria

  • Requisite Value of Business Investment: AUD$$400,000 For business activity, AUD$200,000 For settlement
  • Requisite Funds for Settlement Activity: $200,000
  • Minimum Net Assets: AUD$800,000
  • Excluded Business Types (exemptions apply): Small scale property development; Small scale freight forwarding and warehousing; Export of commodity or scrap metal; Passive investment
  • Minimum Points: 80
  • Other: At least 1 full time employee for minimum 12 months All exported goods 100% manufactured in Victoria.
  • *Entry level small retail business, such as convenience stores, cafes, restaurants are only accepted if your proposed business is established in regional Queensland.

    **General importing business will not be accepted unless the imported products are highly innovative, advanced in technology, or currently unavailable in Queensland. Value-adding service should be provided to the imported products such as customised design, product assembly installation, testing, repair, maintenance and so on.


    Generally, applicants must not have turned 55 at the time of invitation in order to qualify for the business and innovation stream. Nevertheless, State and Territory authorities reserve the discretion to afford waiver where the applicant’s Australian business is deemed to be of significant economic benefit to said State or Territory.

    The discretion of States and Territories to accept age-restricted applicants on the grounds of “exceptional economic benefit” is largely unfettered. Policy supports deference to the recommendation of State or Territory authorities, which in turn affords these authorities enormous discretion in the exercise of this power. The State and Territory authorities provide minimal guidance on when they will recommend waiver of age restrictions.

    Main Business

    A business is a main business in relation to an applicant for a visa if for at least 2 of the 4 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation:
    (a) Annual turnover is greater than $500,000;
    (b)Applicant maintains, or has maintained, direct and continuous involvement in management of the business from day to day and in making decisions affecting the overall direction and performance of the business; and
    (c)Business is or was a qualifying business; and
    (d)the applicant has, or has had, an ownership interest in the business; and
    (e)the applicant’s ownership interest or the total ownership interests of the applicant and the applicant’s spouse or de facto partner, in the business is or was:

    Ownership Threshold

  • Turnover < $400,000 per year: 51%
  • Turnover > $400,000 per year: 30%
  • Publicly Listed Company: 10%
  • Qualifying Business

    A qualifying business refers to an enterprise that:
    (a)is operated for the purpose of making profit through the provision of goods, services or goods and services (other than the provision of rental property) to the public; and
    (b)is not operated primarily or substantially for the purpose of speculative or passive investment.


    Turnover is the revenue generated in the ordinary course of business activities, including:
  • Sale of goods
  • Fees for service
  • Commission revenue
  • Interest
  • Capital gains
  • Government subsidies or bounties
  • General Direction and Operation of a Business

    Australian migration law delineates provision of services to clients from exercise of business skills to benefits of the business. Where involvement in the main business predominantly consists of delivery of services to clients and customers, the applicant may be deemed ineligible under Subclass 188A. As such, applicants must have primarily held responsibilities for management of the business.

    Need to Reside in Australia

    Applicants must demonstrate a need to be resident in Australia to establish or conduct the proposed business activities on a day-to-day basis. The requisite level of presence in Australia is deemed to be substantial, and therefore, businesses which do not require their presence in Australia, such as internet trading or brokering products between foreign countries, may be regarded as grounds for refusal under this stream.

    Successful Business Career

    Applicants must demonstrate that they have an overall record of successful business careers. The Department will adopt a holistic approach to their assessment in which their entire business careers are taken into consideration, as well as external factors which may mitigate any perceived failures or losses stemming therefrom. Under the guidelines, business careers are generally deemed unsuccessful in the following circumstances;
  • Bankruptcy in the last 5 years;
  • Involvement in businesses which have been subject to insolvency, receivership or liquidation;
  • Recent trading losses stemming from decisions of the applicant which are likely to render the business unsuccessful in future.
  • Net Value of Personal and Business Asset

    The business and personal assets of the applicant, the applicant’s spouse or de facto partner, or the applicant and his or her spouse or de facto partner together, that can be applied to the establishment or conduct of a business in Australia within 2 years after the visa grant have a net value of at least $800,000.
    This figure is calculated as business and personal assets less any liabilities. It should be noted that the figure is not limited to the assets of the main business, but assets of other businesses of the applicant to be considered in totality.

    Lawful Acquisition of Assets

    Applicants need to substantiate origins of their disclosed assets in order to demonstrate lawful ownership and availability for transfer to Australia.

    Application Charges

    Subclass 188 is payable in 2 instalments.

    First Instalment

  • Base application charge: $5,375
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $2,685
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $1,345
  • Second Instalment

  • Primary applicant without functional English: $9,795
  • Secondary applicants who do not demonstrate functional English: $4,890