As immigration minister of Australia in 2012, Chris Bowen had designed the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program which has been bringing wealthy business people to Australia. Now as shadow treasurer, Bowen is talking about the need of a new class of entrepreneur visa.
Last week Bowen delivered a speech at the Queensland Press Club, where he talked about innovation and education, science and research, risk-taking, entrepreneurial-ism, start-ups and venture capital.
Bowen’s speech contained two new ideas that the Labor is working on: entrepreneur visas and crowd-sourced funding.
“We have been developing an alternative approach to start-ups and venture capital, for example as part of our suite of measures to foster innovation and entrepreneurial-ism. The potential here is huge,” Bowen said.
“It underlines my point that in the post-mining boom age, we need to be embracing innovation to create jobs. The payoffs for our economy of relatively small government investment of money are, potentially very substantial.”
Ed Husic, the shadow parliamentary secretary, has been assigned to work out a regulatory framework that would allow large scale crowd-sourced funding in Australia.
Bowen also proposes an entrepreneur class of visa, which will bring Australian in line with other competing markets who are wooing the best minds in business.
The SIV program started by Bowen allows potential immigrants to get a special visa with lenient language and residency requirements. Under the program, investors are required to $5 million in Australia to get this visa, which leads to a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship.
However, this “golden ticket” visa became a type of parachute for the rich Chinese who didn’t plan to live in Australia, but wanted the option just in case.
According to Bowen, the entrepreneur visa would remedy this. “In office, we introduced a ‘Significant Investors Visa’ designed to make it easier to attract individuals with access to significant capital. A similar model is applicable to attracting those who may not have capital, but have ideas and drive.”
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