Subclass 188B: Investor Visa

The investor stream is available for skilled and experienced investors or business operators seeking to receive permanent residency through investment in Australia. Eligible applicants are required to invest at least $1,500,000 in an interest bearing bond issued by an Australian State or Territory government authority. Maturity of the investment must not be less than 4 years from its date of issue. The authorities have ‘designated investment‘ for specific purposes of Subclass 188B visas. As is the case for all other streams, the applicants must be nominated by a relevant authority.

Primary Criteria

  • Applicant was invited with a minimum score of 65 on the Schedule 7A points test, in writing, by the Minister to apply for the visa;
  • Applicant has not turned 55 at the time of invitation, or is otherwise 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;
  • Applicant has made a designated investment of at least $1,500,000 in the State or Territory in which the nominating State or Territory government authority is located;
  • Applicant has an overall successful record of eligible investment activities or qualifying business activities;
  • Applicant has more than 3 years experience in directly managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments, and demonstrated, during the period of the direct management, a high level of management skills in relation to the eligible investments or qualifying business activities;
  • In at least 1 in the last 5 fiscal years, the applicant must have directed managed a qualifying business or eligible investment and had an ownership interest of at least 10% of the total value of the business or the investment that was at least $1,500,000;
  • In the last 2 fiscal years, the applicant’s net value of the business and personal assets exceeded $2,250,000;
  • Applicant’s business and personal assets are lawfully acquired and are available for transfer to Australia within 2 years after the visa grant;
  • Applicant genuinely has realistic commitment to continue to maintain business or investment activities in Australia beyond the maturity of the designated investment(s);
  • Applicant has a genuine intention to reside for at least 2 years in the State or Territory in which the designated investment application is made.


As a general rule, the applicants must not have turned 55 at the time of invitation to be eligible. in order to qualify for the business and innovation stream. However, State and Territory authorities reserve the discretion to waive the age criterion 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

Designated Investment

Designated investment refers to an investment made with a minimum sum of $1,500,000 for a term of maturity being 4 years in a security issued by an Australian State or Territory government authority. Relevant securities are issued by the following bodies:

  • ACT does not participate in this stream.
  • NSW – New South Wales Treasury Corporation
  • QLD – Queensland Treasury Corporation
  • SA – South Australian Government Financing Authority
  • TAS – Tasmanian Public Finance Corporation
  • VIC – Treasury Corporation of Victoria
  • WA – Western Australian Treasury Corporation

Management Experience

The applicants must demonstrate a high level of management skills through minimum of 3 years experience in direct management of one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments. This test is subjective and the key considerations in the case of a qualifying business include:

  • Exercising responsibility over employees;
  • Responsibility for strategic policy development;
  • Exercising the skills to adapt to the Australian business or investment environment; and
  • Business did not merely generate profits purely via appreciation of the assets.

Considerations for an eligible investment include:

  • Active evaluation on performance of assets against other potential investments; and
  • Degree of responsibility in the making of strategic decisions, including retention or sale of assets.

Successful Record of Investment or Business Activities

In determining whether investment or business activities were successful, the Department adopts a holistic approach in their assessment. It means the entire business careers are taken into consideration as well as external factors which may mitigate any perceived failures or losses stemming therefrom. Under the policy directives, factors which may indicate failure of business and investment, or attract further scrutiny from the Department, include:

  • Disposing of a business or investment at a loss;
  • Patterns of decreasing profitability under the applicant’s management;
  • Portfolio with patterns of decreasing profitability;
  • Business with a record of trading losses;
  • History of bankruptcy;
  • Extensive involvement in businesses which have been subject to insolvency, receivership or liquidation;
  • Recent trading losses stemming from the applicant’s decisions, which had the effect of rendering the business unsuccessful. Where there has been a loss in the past business or investment, the onus is placed on the applicant to provide explanation and prove it was due to extenuating circumstances for the failures. Examples of these include but are not limited to; recessions, adverse market conditions, sudden change in trade regimes.

Recent Direct Involvement

The applicants will need to provide a statement which outlines their active management of qualifying businesses or eligible investments. This statement, and evidence being annexed to it, must establish active management for 1 year within the last 5 fiscal years before the time of invitation. The applicants may select a year for which they are able to produce the most comprehensive evidence of their investment or business activities.

Ownership Threshold

In demonstrating their recent direct involvement, the applicants should demonstrate an ownership interest of at least 10% of the total value of the qualifying business, or a net investment value of $1,500,000 in eligible investment.

Net Value of Personal and Business Assets

The business and personal assets of the applicant and the applicant’s spouse or de facto partner together must exceed $2,250,000 in net value at any time in the last 2 fiscal years. This figure is calculated as net business and personal assets less any liabilities.

The assets used in the calculation of the net value must be sufficiently liquid to be transferred to Australia within 2 years of the visa grant. Real estate properties are only to be included in the calculation if it is to be sold and liquidated.

Lawful Acquisition of Assets

The applicants need to substantiate origins of their disclosed assets and that the funds of designated investment have been derived from their past business and/ or investment activities. Any windfall gains may not be allowed in the calculation.

Intention to Continue Business or Investment in Australia

The applicants must demonstrate a genuine intention and realistic commitment to continuously maintain business and/ or investment activities in Australia after the mandatory designated investment has matured. This criterion does not require provision of any definite business or investment plans, and in most instances, the valid nomination satisfies this requirement on its own. In certain cases, the applicants’ intentions may be subject to further scrutiny by the Department.

Intention to Reside in the Nominating State

Whilst the nomination continues to be in force, the applicants must evidence their intention to reside for at least 2 years in the nominating State or Territory.

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