Entrepreneur Visa Australia

The entrepreneur stream of 188 innovation and investment business visa in Australia is for individuals who undertakes, or proposes to undertake, a complying entrepreneur activity in Australia and have a third party funding agreement of at least $200,000 to carry out the entrepreneurial activity in Australia. This stream of the innovation and investment visa is in many respects comparable to the subclass 132B business visa to Australia as both require specified third party funding for a business in Australia. As with any business visa, Australia requires applicants to demonstrate

If one is looking to purchase an existing business for their business visa for Australia, it is not advisable to pursue the entrepreneur visa. Australia offers, through alternative streams, more appropriate avenues for those looking to purchase an existing business.

Primary Criteria

  • Applicant was invited in writing by the Minister to apply for the visa under the entrepreneur stream. Invitation generally requires nomination from a State or Territory government first;
  • Applicant has not turned 55 years of age at the time of Entrepreneur stream invitation. Persons 55 years of age or more must be proposing to establish or participate in business or investment activities that the nominating State or Territory government authority has determined to be of exceptional economic benefit;
  • Visa applicant has at least competent English;
  • Visa applicant is undertaking, or proposing to undertake, a complying entrepreneur activity in accordance with a funding agreement or agreements with a total amount of $200,000 from an approved third party or parties;
  • Visa applicant has at least 30% ownership interest in the entrepreneurial entity from the time when the funding agreement was entered into; and
  • The net value of the visa applicant’s business and personal assets is sufficient to enable relocation to and settlement in Australia.

Complying Entrepreneur Activity

An activity is a complying entrepreneur activity if it relates to an innovative idea that will lead to:

  • Commercialization of a product or service in Australia; or
  • Development of an enterprise or business in Australia.

It must not relate to any of the following categories:

  • Residential real estate;
  • Labour hire; or
  • Purchase of an existing enterprise or a franchise in Australia.

Funding from an approved entity

The visa applicant must have one or more legally enforceable agreements to receive funding with a total amount of at least $200,000. The funding must be from one of the following entities:

  • Commonwealth Government agency;
  • State or Territory Government agency;
  • Publicly funded research or innovation organization;
  • Higher education provider specified as a Table A or Table B provider under Part 2-1 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003; or
  • Investor who is registered as an Australian Venture Capital Limited Partnership or Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership.

Note that publicly funded research organizations include many universities and State or Territory departments. Information on Venture Capital Limited Partnership can be obtained from the Australian Government Business website.

The entrepreneur agreement(s) must state that at least 10% of the funding must be payable to the entrepreneurial entity within 12 months of commencement of the activity in Australia. The entrepreneurial entity that will conduct the activity must be either an individual, a company or a partnership. The applicant must have held at least 30% interest in the entrepreneurial entity when the agreement was entered into.

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.

Age

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 issue the waiver where the proposed Australian business is deemed to be of significant economic benefit to said State or Territory.

This discretion of the State and Territory authorities in determining the economic benefit is largely unfettered. Migration policy supports deference of such decision to recommendation of the State or Territory authorities, conferring enormous discretion in the exercise of this power. The State and Territory authorities provide minimal guidance on their consideration on significant economic benefits

Competent English

  • Applicant has scored at least 6 for each of the 4 components in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS);
  • Applicant has scored at least 50 for each of the 4 components in the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic).

Application Charges

Subclass 188 visa is payable in 2 installments.

First Installment

  • 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 Installment

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