Qld Government Updates Business Visa Sponsorship Requirements

Business and Skilled Migration Queensland has announced new criteria for the Business, Innovation and Investment Program.

These changes are coming into into effect from Monday the 25th of July, 2016, and must be met to secure sponsorship of a visa application by the Qld Government.

Under visa subclasses 132 and 188 sponsorship from a State or Territory Government is required to progress a visa application for migration to Australia.

The headline changes include:

Subclass 132, Business Talent

Net business and personal assets of A$1.5 million, to be transferred to Queensland within 2 years after the visa is granted including:

  • Minimum A$1million investment in a business, and
  • Minimum A$$500,000 settlement costs

The applicant must reside in Queensland.

Subclass 188, Business Innovation and Investment

Business Innovation Stream (for business owners)

  • Net Business and Personal Assets of A$800,000, to be transferred to Queensland within 2 years after visa is granted including minimum A$200,000 investment in a business.
  • Visa holder must reside in Queensland

Investor stream (for successful investors)

  • Existing criteria remains the same
  • Visa holder must reside in Queensland

Significant Investor Stream (SIV)

  • The current Austrade Complying Investment Framework applies
  • Visa holder has a commitment to Queensland

Please complete the enquiry form on this page if you are a business owner or investor who would like to migrate to Australia – we will be delighted to have a free initial conversation with you.

Australia’s Business Migration Program – Declining Numbers Applying – Improvements Expected

The press in Australia has today picked up on the marked reduction in the number of business skills visa applications following the changes to business migration that were introduced in 2012. 

From today’s The Australian newspaper:

“The Immigration Department has cast doubt on the viability of Labor’s overhauled business ­migration program, as legal ­experts branded the two-year-old scheme a “dismal failure” that prompted an “enormous decline” in new visas.

A joint parliamentary inquiry into the Business Innovation and Investment Program has heard the program, introduced in 2012 to raise the quality of business ­migrants, is plagued by slow processing, unpredictable outcomes and selection criteria that deter good candidates in a search for ideal, younger migrants.

Only 652 visas were granted over the first 21 months of the BIIP scheme, which awards applicants points depending on characteristics such as age, English level and wealth. That compares with 6790 in the final year of the system it ­replaced, the Business Skills ­Program. The department, in its ­submission to the inquiry, indicated the plunge in applicants “will make it increasingly difficult to maintain the number of business migrants as a proportion of the overall permanent migration ­program”.

“While there are sufficient ­applications under the previous business skills program to guarantee the 2013-14 program, the application rate may put the delivery of the 2014-15 program in question,” the submission read.”

Submissions to the inquiry are available here.

We anticipate improvements to be made to Australia’s business skills program as a result of this inquiry, as migration to Australia by business owners, investors, and entrepreneurs is clearly a desirable objective – watch this space for new information as it becomes known.

Removal of the Capital Gains Tax Discount in Australia for Non Residents

On Federal Budget Day 2012 – the 8th of May, 2012 – the Australian Government announced that it was abolishing the 50% CGT discount for individuals who are not resident in Australia.  The CGT discount is generally available on the disposal of a CGT asset when it is sold more than 12 months after original purchase.

The abolition only applies to disposals after the 8th of May, 2012, and applies to individuals who are not resident in Australia as well as those who are temporary tax residents (those who are resident in Australia, holding most types of temporary residency visa).

The change seeks to ensure that the 50% CGT discount is only applied to periods where the CGT asset was held:

  • Prior to the 9th of May, 2012, and
  • After the 8th of May, 2012 but only where the individual is an Australian tax resident who is not a temporary tax resident.

Individuals who make a discounted capital gain indirectly – for example as a beneficiary of a trust – are also affected by this change.

Individuals who are taxpayers in Australia and who are foreign tax residents or temporary tax residents should therefore consider how they are affected, and what they should do to mitigate their Australian tax position.

Options might include:

  • Making a deemed disposal election when becoming a foreign tax resident.
  • Obtaining a market valuation of CGT assets as at the 8th of May, 2012 – and particularly  “taxable Australian property” to ensure that the element of the capital gain that accrued on the asset before the 9th of May, 2012 remains eligible for the full CGT discount.  It should be noted that when a market valuation is not obtained no CGT discount on gains that arose before the 8th of May, 2012 will be available.

“Taxable Australian property” includes:

  • A direct interest in real property situated in Australia
  • A mining, quarrying or prospecting right to minerals, petroleum or quarry materials situated in Australia
  • A CGT asset that the taxpayer has used at any time in carrying on a business through a permanent establishment in Australia
  • An indirect interest in Australian real property – where the taxpayer (with associates) holds 10% or more of an entity – including a foreign entity – and the value of the taxapyer’s interest is principally attributable to Australian real property.

“Taxable Australian property” also includes an option or right over one of the above.

For most non resident and temporary tax resident individuals real estate in Australia will be the main CGT asset that is impacted by the abolition of the CGT discount.

If you think you are affected by this change please contact us to discuss your situation.  An initial discussion is without charge.  Our subsequent fees will be fixed in amount and are agreed by you before making any commitment to us.

Significant Investor Visas: Range of eligible managed fund investments expanded

The list of eligible managed fund investments has been expanded with effect from the 23rd of November, 2013, and now includes:

>  Bonds, equity, hybrids or other corporate debt in companies and trusts listed or expected to be listed within 12 months on an Australian Stock Exchange

>  Annuities issued by an Australian registered life company in accordance with section 9 or 12A of the Life Insurance Act 1995

>  Derivatives used for portfolio management and non-speculative purposes which constitute no more than 20 per cent of the total value of the managed fund

>  Loans secured by mortgages over some of the investments listed in the legislative instrument introducing these changes.

The legislative instrument introducing the change is here.

Further commentary regarding the Significant Investor Stream as a visa pathway for moving to Australia is here.