Australia is set to launch the most expensive permanent residency visa in the world—the Premium Investor Visa. Expected to be available for applicants from June 2015 onwards, the Premium Investor Visa requires applicants to invest at least A$15 million. In return, the applicants will be entitled to become permanent residents of Australia in just twelve months after grant of the visa.
Other advantages of this expensive visa include the no residency requirements for the applicants. This means that investors pumping in the minimum A$15 million into the Australian economy can become permanent residents after 12 months even if they have not resided in Australia prior to applying for the visa.
Those looking for a slightly cheaper option can opt for the Significant Investor Visa, which allows applicants to apply for permanent residency after residing in the country for a minimum period of four years. This visa is available at a lower cost of A$5 million. The new visa category is expected to bring in much-needed investment from ultra high net-worth individuals into local industries in Australia.
Australian investment residency programs are very popular amongst Asian investors with investors from China constituting a significant proportion of the total number of applicants for the Significant Investor Program. Other Asian countries with a high number of applicants include nations in the Middle East and the UAE.
Immigration experts expect demand from investors residing in the UAE and the Middle East to pick up considering the significant opportunities that the Australian market offers for rich Asian investors. Apart from a competitive environment, Australia offers a rich source of talented and educated individuals who can contribute to the overall growth of the investments made by Asian investors.
Although the detailed policy of the Premium Investor Visas is yet to be announced, immigration experts anticipate the Australian government to impose stringent requirements. The existing program does not impose any language requirements or age limits. However, the new program, which offers the attractive prize of permanent residency in Australia without the mandatory requirement of 160 days of residence over a span of four year, may impose tougher conditions.
The high cost of the visa may not deter those seeking to invest in a country that has enjoyed steady and sustained economic growth in the past two decades. Further, Australia ranks high in business competitiveness, offers funding at attractive interest rates, and offers investment security with minimal political or macroeconomic risks for investors. It is one of the safest and most productive investment destinations in the Asia Pacific region today.
Despite the fact that the Premium Investor Visa will be the most expensive visa offered by Australia, investors may be attracted by the possibility of very few additional requirements along with faster processing and no additional business requirements.
Until the new Australian investment visa is unveiled, Cyprus will continue to remain the most expensive investment immigration program in the world. Cypriot citizenship is available in exchange of minimum investment of EUR5 million. Other developed countries like the USA and UK offer permanent residence at relatively lower costs, with the former requiring a minimum investment of just $500,000.
However, such programs impose additional conditions like creation of employment opportunities for at least ten US citizens. The Cypriot investment immigration program and the Australian Significant & Premium Investor Programs are not expected to impose such additional requirements on investors.