Australia has boosted its visa scheme aimed at attracting investment from the rich Chinese investors. Last week the government announced a series of changes to its existing Significant Investor Visa program – these included speeding up of the approval procedures and expanding investment avenues.
Australia’s existing two-year old Significant Investor Visa program offers residency to foreigners who are willing to invest more than A$5 million (£2.87 million) in the country under a scheme that the government believes will ultimately raise an income of A$6 billion.
The program was introduced in Australia in 2012. Ever since more than 90% of the applications have come from Chinese investors.
Last week, Australia announced yet another scheme which offers residency to applicants who can invest A$15 million for one year.
Australia is experiencing a fading mining industry which had powered its economy for the past decade and this move comes as an attempt to bring billions of dollars as investment in the country. However, immigration experts believe that this new program may not find a large number of investors.
Recently the Chinese investors have been in the news, being held responsible for the rising prices of property in Australia. This has pressured the Australian government to hold an inquiry on affordable housing in the country.
The Australian government has not yet divulged details about the new investor program. However Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot issued a statement last week saying that Australia will maintain safeguards to ensure that the migration program is not misused. This comes at the time when China has also launched a crackdown on corruption that among other things is scrutinizing the officials who transfer their ill-gotten gains offshore.
Several agents and lawyers have asked the government to clarify the conditions surrounding the sources of the funding, which has been a controversial point for investors and has delayed several visa applications. However the Australian government has not provided any clarity on this as yet.
“There’s a problem showing who the actual owner of the bank account is. It’s very difficult to show for secrecy reasons or tax reasons,” says Rossana Gonzalez, immigration agent at Immigration Experts Australia.
As per data from the Immigration Department of Australia, out of 1,746 “expressions of interest”, only 436 visas had been approved by September end this year. “We’re competing with the rest of the world for migrant capital and it’s a positive sign to see the government noting an intention to streamline and speed up SIV visa processing,” says Berrick Wilson, partner at investment firm KordaMentha Pty that offers advice for SIV investors.
The announced changes to the Significant Investor Visa program will take effect during 2014/15 while the Premium Investor Visa will be introduced on July 1 next year.
Source: uk.reuters.comGeneral Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
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