Australia has released a draft framework of their revised Significant Investor Visa (SIV) scheme along with new design options for the upcoming Premium Investor Visa (PIV) program, which will be launched on July 1 this year.
With the PIV program, applicants get a fast-track 12-month pathway to Australian citizenship upon a minimum investment of AU $15 million, while the SIV requires an investment of at least AU $5 million from an investor in order to be eligible for citizenship after a period of four years.
As per the new proposed rules of the draft framework, a minimum of 20% of the required investment, i.e. AU $1 million, must be put into early stage growth capital investments through government designated venture capital funds. And while the existing SIV program directed the investment mainly into government bonds, the revised version does not allow government bonds to be a complying investment category.
Additionally, the new draft now requires at least 30% of the applicants’ investment (AU $1.5 million) to be put into funds that invest in emerging listed companies. The previous condition of barring direct investment into residential properties remains as it is, and is in fact supplemented by additional conditions that also restrict indirect investment in real estate. Only a part of the invested funds will be allowed to go to commercial real estate through managed funds.
Australia Minister for Investment and Trade, Andrew Robb, has said that these changes had been made to channel investment into more dynamic areas of the Australian economy like small startup companies and venture capital funds, which suffer from capital shortages.
“These changes will attract more investment into high-growth companies and will support the commercialization of great Australian research. Our key objective is to see more investment into areas which support innovation and which provide new sources of growth capital, particularly in areas with thin capital flows,” he said.
Robb believes the enhanced program is more flexible in terms of investment classes and will attract top entrepreneurs and businessmen to Australia. In addition, the program will also follow strong safeguards to prevent its misuse. “Changes to complying investment policy for the SIV and new PIV would take effect from 1 July, and include higher risk and potentially higher return investments such as venture capital, which will provide a bigger potential boost to the Australian economy,” said Michaelia Cash, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.