188A Business Visa

188A Business Visa is intended for individuals with a prior business background to establish and operate a business in Australia. If you do not have the requisite business experience or plan to operate a business in Australia, you must consider other options.

You are assessed on a competitive basis, and valid visa applications are predicated on being issued an invitation through Skillselect and a nomination by an authority of a chosen State or Territory.


188A Criteria

Points: You must achieve a minimum score of 65 on the Schedule 7A points test and receive an invitation on a competitive basis to apply for the visa.

State Nomination: You must submit a business proposal to the nominating State or Territory for approval. The criteria can depend on where you wish to live and changes each year.

Age: You must be under 55 years of age at the time of invitation. Exceptions may be allowed in strictly limited circumstances where you can prove you would establish or participate in business or investment activity to the State or Territory.

Need to be resident: You need to establish the need for you to be resident in Australia to establish or conduct the business activity.

Business Career: You must prove that you have a successful overall record of business by reference to your previous and/ or current businesses.

Use of Management Skills: If your main business was related to provision of professional, technical or trade services, you must prove that you spent more time on managerial and operational roles of the business than provision of the services.

Ownership: You must have had an ownership interest in a main business with an annual turnover of at least $750,000 for the last 2 of the 4 fiscal years before the invitation.

Assets: You must have a total of business and personal assets of $1,250,000 at the time of invitation. You may combine your partner’s assets for this calculation.


188A State Nomination Criteria


188A Visa Costs

In addition to the cost of your business investment, the Australian Government charges fees when lodging your visa application. The total cost depends on a number of factors, including the English proficiency of each adult applicant and the number of total applicants.

First instalment

    • Base application charge: $9,450
    • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $4,725
    • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $2,365

Second instalment, if the functional English cannot scored by the applicants

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


Business Innovation Visa FAQ

Q: What is a main business for 188A?

A main business is a business which has satisfied all of the following in the last 2 of the 4 fiscal years before the invitation:

  • You have, or have had, an ownership interest in the business.
  • You maintain, or have maintained, direct and continuous involvement in management of the business from day to day and in making decisions affecting its overall direction and performance.
  • The business is a qualifying business.


Q: What is the necessary ownership interest for a main business for 188A?

You have the necessary ownership if your share of ownership is greater than:

  • 10% if the business is a publicly listed company.
  • 30% if the business is not operated by a publicly listed company and its annual turnover is greater than $400,000.
  • 51% if the business is not operated by a publicly listed company and its annual turnover is less than $400,000.


Q: What is a qualifying business for 188A?

A qualifying business is a business that is operated:

  • For profit through provision of goods or services, other than provision of rental property, to the public.
  • Not for speculative or passive investment.


Q: What is included in turnover for 188A?

Turnover is the revenue generated in the ordinary course of business activities and includes:

  • Sale of goods
  • Fees for service
  • Commission revenue
  • Interest
  • Capital gains
  • Government subsidies or bounties


Q: What is Considered a “Successful Business Career?”

You must have a business career with an overall record of success. The Department will look at many factors of your past business when making their assessment. This includes your entire business careers, as well as external factors which may explain instances of failure. Under the Department’s guidelines, business careers are generally deemed unsuccessful in the following circumstances:

  • You have become bankrupt in the last 5 years.
  • You have had involvement in businesses which have been subject to insolvency, receivership or liquidation.
  • You have suffered recent trading losses which stemmed from decisions you were responsible for and which are likely to render the business unsuccessful in future.


Q: What is a fiscal year for 188A?

Migration Regulations 1.03 defines a fiscal year in relation to a business or investment as an accounting period of 12 months. Fiscal years differ across countries: some countries use the calendar year whilst other countries prefer the tax period to be different. The Department of Home Affairs approve a period as a fiscal year if it:

  • is a 12 month period; and
  • has been accepted as applying to that business/ investment for taxation or reporting purposes by authorities in the relevant country.

The Department has not been very strict in asserting starting and ending dates of fiscal years to certain dates. As long as the calculation is allowed in your country or corporate constitution, it would be acceptable.


Q: I am running a professional services firm. Am I eligible for 188A?

The visa requirements make a clear distinction between provision of services and the exercise of business skills. Where involvement in the main business predominantly consists of delivery of services to clients and customers, you may be deemed ineligible under Subclass 188A.

The question to ask is “how do I spend most of my time? In running the business or in rendering services to customers and clients?” If your involvement in your main business mostly involves delivering services personally, you may be ineligible for Subclass 188A.


Q: What if I am older than the age threshold?

Generally, you 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 provide waiver of this requirement if your business is deemed to be of significant economic benefit to the nominating State or Territory.

States are largely free to decide what they deem to be of “exceptional economic benefit,”. Most State and Territory authorities provide minimal guidance on when they will recommend waiver of age restrictions, meaning it is up to you and your legal representative to prove exceptional benefit as part of your nomination application.


Q: Is 188A a Permanent Residency?

Any type of a 188 visa, including 188A, is a provisional visa that allows you to apply for Permanent Residency if you satisfy the eligibility criteria whilst holding 188 visa. It is not just a temporary visa, but provisional in a sense that it allows transition to subclass 888 PR in the future.


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