Australia’s investment visa schemes are possibly being used by corrupt Chinese officials seeking a way out of China, experts have warned. This could in turn create political and legal friction between Australia and China.
With Austrade beginning a review of the requirements for the Significant Investor Visa and Premium Investor Visa, the Australian government is being urged to implement further safeguards in the schemes, following similar steps taken by Canada, and attempts by China to extradite citizens trying to evade its justice system.
Nearly all of the 600 significant investor visas issued since November 2012 have been granted to Chinese citizens. Under the scheme, foreign applicants are issued permanent residency upon an investment of $5 million for a minimum period of four years. For the premium investment visa, permanent residency is issued after just one year, but it comes with a higher requirement of a minimum $15 million investment. Both visas have no requirement around English language proficiency.
With the visa schemes under review, Australian immigration agents are concerned that any further changes or tightening of restrictions in the schemes may cause foreign investors to look elsewhere. With Canada’s investment visa scheme having a much lower investment requirement of CAD 800,000 and the US requiring just $US 500,000, there is a lot of global competition to attract foreign investment through investor visa schemes.
John Findley, an immigration agent, dismissed China’s concerns of the visa schemes providing an escape route to corrupt Chinese officials.
“You would have to concede it is possible,’’ he said. “But it’s a sweeping statement and unfair … it misclassifies the vast majority of the individuals coming here.”
Source: www.theaustralian.com.auGeneral Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
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