Australia’s economic advisers have welcomed the government’s move to introduce the Premium Investor Visa program that grants residency to wealthy foreigners investing A$15 million in the country.
The Premium Investor Visa program puts Australia in the list of countries offering residency to rich investors who want to safeguard their wealth in stable offshore markets. “Australia competes with many countries for high net wealth migrants, making it an attractive prospect is in the national interest,” says migration lawyer Alan Rigas.
Business migration agent John Findley feels that most of the investment coming through this visa program will be attracted to property assets, driving up prices which are already inflated due to the influx of Chinese developers. “The likelihood of the $15 million going into property is very real and very high,” says Findley.
Findley believes that there are too many investment choices for compliant funds and the government should direct it towards infrastructure, as well as new small and medium businesses.
The Australian Trade Commission, Austrade, will draw up the list of complying investments for the Premium Investor Visa. Though details have not yet emerged, the government has hinted that compliant investments will target agri-business, food, gas and energy resources, mining technology and services, medical technology and pharmaceuticals, and advanced manufacturing.
According to reports, the federal government of Australia has issued 286 Significant Investor Visas up to July 1 this year, bringing in a total of $1.4 billion worth of foreign investment. Most applications had come from China.
The Australian Significant Investor Visa program started in 2012, offering permanent residency to applicants who could invest at least $5 million in prescribed assets. The department of immigration review of similar investor visa programs in other countries found that they “have less onerous application criteria and processing requirements”.
The Australian government says that it wants to “target premium investors more effectively” by streamlining the administration of the program. They also plan to “diversify the sources of investors” under the new program, while ensuring that the visa is not abused.