1. How long will it take for my Investor/Significant Investor/Investor Retirement visa to be granted?
2. I have a choice between applying for an Investor or a Significant Investor visa. Which should I choose?
3. If I have a subclass 405 Investor Retirement visa can I obtain permanent residency?
4. Is there an English language requirement when applying for an Investor/Significant Investor/Investor Retirement visa?
5. I have a subclass 162/165 visa. Can I still apply for permanent residency following the changes to the investor visa program?
6. As a temporary visaholder do I have to lodge an Australian tax return? By what date must I lodge my Australian tax return?
7. What is a Designated Investment? When do I have to arrange it?
Q. How long will it take for my Investor/Significant Investor/Investor Retirement visa to be granted?
- The process of applying for the Investor/Significant Investor visa involves lodging an Expression of Interest (an EoI) with the Department of Immigration, and being sponsored by the State or Territory in which you will be living and investing funds. Once the State Government has confirmed it is sponsoring the visa application an invitation to progress a visa application is usually issued by the Department of Immigration quickly – usually within a few days. The timeline from there will depend on issues that are specific to your application.
- Investor Retirement visa applications do not require the submission of an Expression of Interest with the Department of Immigration, but do require sponsorship from the State or Territory in which you will be living, and are typically taking some 6 months to process to a decision at the present time (November, 2013).
Q. I have a choice between applying for an Investor or a Significant Investor visa. Which should I choose?
- If you wish to have choice about how much is to be invested in Australia we tend towards the Investor Stream, because the amount of the required investment is less than that required for the Significant Investor – A$1.5m versus A$5m.
- However, the number of days you must be present in Australia to obtain permanent residency under subclass 888 is less for the Significant Investor stream – 40 days on average per year – compared with 2 out of the last 4 years for an Investor stream applicant.
- It is also easier to extend a Significant Investor subclass 188 visa for a further 2 years once the initial 4 year period has ended, and this 2 year extension is then available for a further 2 years.
- Because of the reduced number of days a Significant Investor visaholder is required to be in Australia to secure permanent residency this pathway can be preferred if there are dependent children of the main applicant who are to attend school or tertiary education in Australia – eg University – while the main applicant continues his or her business or investment activities outside Australia.
Q. If I have a subclass 405 Investor Retirement visa can I obtain permanent residency?
- A 405 visa can be renewed on a recurring basis, without the need to meet health and character requirements. You can also retain the tax benefits of being a temporary visaholder for the entire period that you are living in Australia as the holder of a subclass 405 visa.
- The only permanent residency visa pathway usually available to 405 visaholders is via a Parent/Contributory Parent visa once the requirements for that visa can be met – typically once a sufficient number of children are living in Australia as Australian permanent residents or Australian citizens.
Q. Is there an English language requirement when applying for an Investor/Significant Investor/Investor Retirement visa?
- No, there is no requirement as to English language competency for any of these visas.
Q. I have a subclass 162/165 visa. Can I still apply for permanent residency following the changes to the investor visa program?
- Yes, permanent residency visas under subclasses 891 and 893 continue to be available to subclass 162 and 165 visaholders.
Q. As a temporary visaholder do I have to lodge an Australian tax return? By what date must I lodge my Australian tax return?
- Once you have moved to Australia you should apply for a Tax File Number, as no TFN means that interest on deposits in Australia (including on a Designated Investment) will have tax withheld at the rate of 47% (the top rate of income tax of 45%, plus the Medicare Levy of 2%).
- Once you have a TFN the Australian Taxation Office will expect you to lodge a personal income tax return each year. The Australian tax year ends on the 30th of June, and if you do not appoint a registered tax agent to lodge your tax return the tax return must be lodged within 4 months – ie by the 31st of October following the end of the tax year. If you appoint a registered tax agent you will usually have until the middle of May in the following year to lodge your personal tax return – assuming your Australian tax affairs are up to date.
Q. What is a Designated Investment? When do I have to arrange it?
- A Designated Investment is an interest bearing Bond issued by each of the State and Territory Treasury Corporations that are participating in the investor program. Interest – which is taxable in Australia in the hands of an Australian tax resident – is paid twice a year, and the rate of interest will depend on the prevailing market rate at the time the investment is made.
- The Designated Investment is arranged at the final stage of processing the visa application, once all other requirements of the visa application have been met, including health and character (ie medical examinations and police clearance certificates).