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Changes to the Business Innovation and Investment Visa

Changes to the Subclass 188 visa were announced by the Australian government on 17 December 2020 and these will be implemented on 1 July 2021. If you are a current holder of a Subclass 188 visa, it is important you are aware of these changes to prepare for your Subclass 888 visa.

These changes will also affect new applicants for the Subclass 188 visa. The Australian federal government and the NSW governments are seeking to attract business, investors, entrepreneurs, targeted skilled migrants and students with proven business acumen under this program.

This program is ideal if you are looking to invest in the Australian economy, manage a business in Australia or conduct investment or entrepreneurial activities in Australia. Holders of the Subclass 188 visa are also exempt from current COVID-19 travel exemptions, can travel in and out of Australia, and bring family members.

Key changes for current visa holders

1. Applications to extend your Subclass 188 visa

If you do not meet the requirements to apply for permanent residency under the Subclass 888 visa and hold either a Business Innovation provisional visa or Significant Investor provisional visa, you have the option of applying for a two-year extension of your current Subclass 188 visa.

Under the new changes:

· Business Innovation: You can apply for one 1-year extension and must demonstrate a realistic commitment to continuing to manage a business that has been actively operating for the previous two years.

· Significant Investor: You can apply for two 2-year extensions and must continue to maintain your complying significant investment.

Key changes for new applicants

2. Available streams

There will only be four visa streams within the Subclass 188 visa: Business Innovation, Entrepreneur, Investor and Significant Investor. Applications for the Premium Investor, Significant Business History and Venture Capital Entrepreneur streams are now closed and only applications lodged before 31 May 2021 are being processed.

3. Length of the Subclass 188 visa

The Subclass 188 visa will now be valid for five years instead of 4 years and 3 months.

This means applicants now have additional time to meet the requirements to for permanent residency under the Subclass 888 visa. To apply for a Subclass 888 visa, you must meet the requirements after 3 years of holding your Subclass 188 visa.

4. Requirements for the Business Innovation stream

These have increased under the new changes, and these can differ if you are seeking to migrate to Sydney or regional NSW. At the federal level, the applicant must hold net personal and business assets of at least $1.25 million and businesses with an annual turnover of at least $750,000.

5. Requirements for the Entrepreneur stream

The previous $200,000 funding threshold has been removed as a requirement. However, applicants still need to be nominated by the State or Territory government they are applying in.

The Australian government has not yet released the full changes to the Subclass 188 visa that will be implemented, but our office will keep you updated as soon as the details are released.

If you are interested in applying for a Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment visa, or wish to learn more, please contact our friendly team at or call us on 02 9283 5290 to schedule a consultation.

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