Money talks. “As of July, the new business innovation and investment visa programme will allow migrants who invest A$5m into either government bonds, regulated managed funds or directly into Australian companies, to enter the country.”
Five million dollars (£3m) will get you a visa into Australia under new regulations announced on Friday.
As of July, the new business innovation and investment visa programme will allow migrants who invest A$5m into either government bonds, regulated managed funds or directly into Australian companies, to enter the country.
“Australia is well placed to attract investors who are looking for the financial security offered by a stable government and economy,” said the immigration minister, Chris Bowen.
Bowen said he expects considerable interest in this new type of visa from across Asia, particularly China. He said a 2011 report on ultra-high net-worth individuals in China showed 47% of those with investable assets over A$15m (£9.3m) were considering an application for investment migration.
“Their investments will offer a disproportionate boost to the economy and to the financial services sector,” he said.
The programme will be aimed at business migrants who have a track record in entrepreneurship.
“We will encourage them to take more innovative and bolder business decisions with greater certainty around their residence status while they’re doing so,” Bowen said.
The Australian economy is one of the best performing in the developed world at present. The OECD predicts growth of 3.1% in 2012, compared with 2.4% in the US and 0.5% in the UK. Unemployment is also very low at 4.9%.
Over the past decade, there has been a strong emphasis on skilled migration. In 2011-12, skilled migrants made up just under 70% of the country’s total migration programme. This has partly been in response to the high demand for skilled workers in the mining and resource industries, with preference given to those with construction and engineering qualifications.
The government expects the new investor visa, which will be contingent on residency in Australia, to attract hundreds of applicants. But it has been criticised by the minority Green party.
“There are many people in Australia who have been waiting a long time to be able to bring out family members, and these are people who are going to contribute to Australia in the long-term and really boost productivity,” Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on immigration told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“But rather than prioritising those people, the government has picked the rich. I do think that’s a little disappointing,” she said.
There is already a range of business visas in place, all subject to conditions. They require applicants to have net assets of between A$500,000 and A$1.25m (£310,000-£700,000) and some of them require a direct investment into Australia of up to A$1.5m (£930,000).
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