Australia has announced a new framework for their Significant Investor Visa (SIV), while also introducing a new Premium Investor Visa (PIV) which will provide a fast-track to permanent residency in Australia.
The new frameworks are part of the Australian Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda to increase the investment in innovative Australian start-ups and emerging companies. The new rules take effect on July 1, 2015.
The new framework prevents SIV applicants from investing the required minimum $5 million into passive investments, such as real estate and government bonds. Instead, the investment must consist of:
- A minimum investment of $500,000 in designated Australian venture capital or private equity funds that invest in start-ups and small private companies. This amount is set to go up to $1 million within two years depending on the scheme’s success.
- A minimum investment of $1.5 million in designated managed funds or Listed Investment Companies (LICs) that invest in emerging companies with a market cap under $500 million.
- A ‘balancing investment’ that will depend on how much is invested in the previously mentioned mandatory investments. This option includes managed funds or LICs that invest in other eligible investments such as corporate bonds, annuities and real estate.
The new rules prohibit loan arrangements where SIV applicants use their investments as collateral.
The Premium Investor Visa (PIV) is aimed at talented entrepreneurs and innovators who are willing to invest a minimum of $15 million in eligible investments. The PIV covers a greater range of investment options than the SIV, with direct investment in companies and financial products being allowed. The PIV also provides a one year fast-track route to Australian permanent residency.
Applications for the SIV have been suspended since 24 April, 2015, for the purpose of preparing the new frameworks.
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