New Australian government visa for migrant investors
into Australian funds – Significant Investor
The Australian Government has announced a new visa pathway for
migrant investors coming to Australia. The Significant Investor
Visa (Visa) commenced on 24 November 2012. The
purpose of the Visa is to provide a boost to the Australian economy
and to compete effectively for high net worth individuals seeking
investment migration. The Visa also provides an opportunity for
Australian fund managers to access a new source of capital.
What are the benefits?
Previously, a migrant seeking investment migration in Australia
would have to take an active role in order to obtain a visa. This
included satisfying an innovation points test, an upper age limit
test and also satisfying the English language requirement
threshold. The Visa allows a migrant to be eligible by simply being
a passive investor in Australia.
What are the key requirements?
Migrants will be required to invest AUD5 million into complying
investments. Complying investments include:
Commonwealth, State or Territory government bonds;
an unlisted managed fund with a mandate for investing in
Australia and operated by a holder of an AFS Licence issued by the
Australian Securities and Investments Commission; and
direct investment into Australian proprietary companies.
The fund must be open to other investors, and invest in one of
the following categories:
infrastructure projects in Australia;
cash held by Australian deposit taking institutions;
bonds issued by the Commonwealth or a State or Territory
bonds, equity, hybrids or other corporate debt in companies and
trusts listed on the ASX;
bonds or term deposits issued by financial institutions;
real estate; and
For a direct investment into an Australian proprietary company
to qualify as a complying investment the following criteria must be
the company must genuinely operate a qualifying business in
the applicant must obtain an ownership interest in the
the company must be registered with ASIC; and
the business must have an Australian Business Number.
An investor must have a genuine intention to hold the investment
for 4 years, and to reside in the Australian State or Territory
that nominates the investor.
Additional State or Territory based requirements will apply
depending on the target place of residence, including the NSW
requirement that at least 30% of the AUD5 million is invested in
NSW government Waratah bonds.
A permanent visa application may be lodged if, among other
requirements, the migrant has held the investments for the life of
the provisional visa.
Norton Rose Australia can assist and provide you with further
information regarding this new government program. We can also
arrange introductions to operators of ASIC regulated funds. Norton
Rose Australia is assisting fund managers in developing funds to be
offered to Visa applicants.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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