Business Visa (Subclass 188) Or 188A Visa Is For Business People To Live And Start A Business In Australia
Business Visa (Subclass 188) is also known as the Business Innovation and Investment Class EB Subclass 188 visa. If granted this visa, the visa holder can relocate to Australia to establish or buy an existing business.
How do I know I can apply?
- You will need to score at least 65 points on the points test (click here to calculate your points). If you are interested in living in Victoria, you will need to score at least 80 points, must commit to employing at least 1 full-time employee and if you are planning to operating a company exporting products, the products must be 100% manufactured in Victoria.
- You must be under 55 when you are invited by the Department of Immigration (Department of Home Affairs) to apply for the visa. However, the nominating state or territory to waive the age requirement if your proposed business will be of exceptional economic benefits
- You must be nominated by a state or territory where you wish to operate your business
- For 2 out of 4 fiscal years before you are invited to apply for the visa, you must have an ownership interest as a shareholder or a partner or sole proprietor in an established business or businesses that had at least $500,000 ($750,000 from 1 July 2021) turnover in each of those years. Your ownership interest must be (a) 10% if the business is public listed or (b) 30% if the business turnover is more than $400,000 per year or (c) 51% if the business turnover is less than $400,000 per year.
- You must maintain direct and continuous management in the business or businesses
- You must have an overall successful business career as the owner or 1 of the owners. This does not include working for a company in a salaried position, for example, business manager
- You must have a genuine desire to continuously own and maintain a management role in the business in Australia
- You and/or your partner (spouse or de facto partner) must have a combined total net business and personal assets of at least $800,000 ($1.25m from 1 July 2021) that are lawfully obtained and are available to be transferred to Australia within 23 months of visa grant.
What are the steps? And how do I apply?
There are 3 steps in the application for a Business Visa (Subclass 188) under the Innovation stream.
You must first lodge an Expression of Interest or EOI to indicate to the Department of Immigration and to the state or territory you like to live that you like to operate a business.
If the state or territory consider you would likely to operate a successful business in their state or territory, they will nominate you. If you are interested in Victoria state government nomination, please click here.
When the state or territory accepts your business proposal, they will inform the Department of Immigration to invite you to apply for the Business Visa (Subclass 188) or 188A Business Innovation visa within 60 days of being notified.
Can I apply in Australia?
If you are invited to apply for the Business 188A visa and you are in Australia, you can lodge the visa application in Australia if you are holding a substantive visa, for example, Class FA Subclass 600 Visitor visa (click here to learn more about Visitor or Tourist visa), without visa condition “No further application” 8503 or 8534 or 8540 (you may request the Department of Immigration to remove this visa condition) or you hold a BVA or BVB or BVC visa within the stipulated time. The Department of Immigration will usually grant you a Bridging Visa to allow to remain in Australia until your visa application is finalised.
Adding family members after visa grant
If the Department of Immigration has already granted you the Business Visa (Subclass 188), you can continue to add family members even if they are not living in Australia.
Members of your family unit, for example, you son’s new partner (spouse or de facto partner), who live outside of Australia can apply for the Business Visa (Subclass 188) to come and live in Australia.
Your newborn child born in Australia is considered to hold the same visa as you.
The Department of Immigration’s policy recognised that your family circumstances may change during the visa validity period (that is, 4 years and 3 months). The policy makes it easier for a partner or a newborn child born outside Australia to obtain the same Business Visa (Subclass 188).
New family members (subsequent entrants) applying for the same Business Visa (Subclass 188) will be assessed without having to reassess whether all the other visa holders in your family unit still satisfy the Business 188A visa criteria.
The Business Visa (Subclass 188) is a temporary or provisional visa and is valid for 4 years and 3 months. You may be able to extend the visa for 2 more years after holding the visa for at least 3 years.
You may able to apply for a permanent visa if you meet the criteria for the grant of the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Class EC Subclass 888 visa (click here to learn more about EC 888 visa).
If you are in Australia when you apply for this visa, you may be granted a bridging visa to allow you to stay in the country until your application is finalised (click here to learn more about bridging visa).
Australian migration law is complex and difficult to understand, contact our immigration lawyer for a consultation (fee applies) to help you decide if you are eligible to apply for the Business Visa (Subclass 188) or Business 188A visa (click here to find out how an immigration lawyer or registered migration agent can help you). You may also refer to our FAQs for answers regarding visa application or visa cancellation by clicking here.
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This article is not intended to be or taken as migration legal advice. The author of this article disclaims any liability for any action or omission on the information provided or not provided in this article. You should always consult an immigration lawyer or a registered migration agent to form an informed opinion on your immigration matter.