Business Innovation and Investment Provisional Visa Application – Subclass 188

The subclass 188 visa is a temporary visa that allows visa holders to own and manage a business in Australia, conduct business and investment activity in Australia or undertake an entrepreneurial activity in Australia.

The application process for the subclass 188 visa begins with eligible applicants submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect. Upon receipt of the EOI, the relevant Australian State or Territory Government or Austrade will determine if they will provide a nomination. If they choose to nominate, the applicant will receive an invitation to apply for the visa.  Upon receiving an invitation, there is a 60 day window in which an applicant can apply for the visa.

There are 5 streams of the subclass 188 visa including the Business Innovation Stream, the Investor Stream, the Significant Investor Stream, the Premium Investor Stream, and the Entrepreneur Stream.

The subclass 188 visa is granted for a period of 4 years as a stepping stone visa to the permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888). Subclass 188 visa holders can, however apply for an extension on their visa under certain streams. If granted, an extension provides an additional two years on the 188 visa. Under the Business Innovation Stream, a visa hold can apply for one extension. Significant Investor stream visa holders can apply for two extensions equating to an extra four years longevity on the 188. No extensions are provided for the Investor Stream, Premium Investor Stream or Entrepreneur Stream.

8.1 General Requirements

Applications for the Business Innovation and Investment visa are required to meet the general requirements as well as the criteria specific to the stream they have been nominated under.

All application must meet the following criteria:

  • Be under the age of 55
  • Meet the skills, qualification, registration/licencing requirements association the nominated position.
  • Meet the English Language requirements by completing an English language test. The level of English required differs on the stream.
  • Meet the Health requirements.
  • Meet the character requirements. Applicants will be required to provide police clearances from any country that they have resided in for 12 months or more.

To be able to receive this visa, you are required to show that you meet all the criteria for the visa including the health and character requirements as well as the visa criteria. The health requirements will include a health examination and the character requirement will include obtaining police clearances for any country that you have lived in one year or more.

Some streams are points based requiring a score of at least 65 marks. Points are awarded for age, English language ability, qualifications, experience in business or investment, net personal and business assets, business turnover, innovation.

8.2 Business Innovation Stream (BIS)

The Business Innovation Stream is a points based stream which allows visa holders to establish, develop and manage a new or existing business in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government.

Applicants must be below the age of 55 years and score at least 65 on the points test. They must also show that they have had an ownership interest in an established business that had at least AUD 500,000 turnover each year for two out of the four years prior to application. If the Applicant’s main business has an annual turnover under 500,000, an allocated percentage of ownership that is required depending on the amount of annual turnover. At the time of invitation, there must be a total net business and personal assets of at least AUD800,000.

8.3 Investor Stream (IS)

The Investor stream is also a points based stream for people who want to invest at least AUD1.5 million in Australian and have a genuine commitment to maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a State or Territory Government.

Applicants must be below the age of 55 years and score at least 65 on the points test. They must have a high level of management skills with three years’ experience managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments. The applicant and/or business partner must also show that they have had a collective ownership interest in a qualifying business of at least 10 percent and demonstrate that they have acquired during the two years prior to application, a net business, investment and personal assets of at least AUD2.25million that is available for transfer to Australia within two years.

  • Significant Investor Stream (SIS)

The Significant Investor Stream is for people who want to invest at least AUD5 million in a complying significant investment over 4 years. Applicants must be committed to reside in the State or Territory who nominated them and live in Australia for at least 40 days per year for the life of the visa, with a realistic commitment to continue the business and investment after the conclusion of the 186 provisional visa. Applicants can be nominated by a state or territory government or by Austrade on behalf of the Australian government.

The investments must include at least AUD500,000 invested in start-ups and small private companies, at least AUD1.5million invested in emerging companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and at least AUD3million invested in a range of approved assets including the ASX-listed companies, Australian corporate bonds or notes, annuities and commercial real estate. It is important to note that direct investment in residential real estate is prohibited and indirect investment is limited.

  • Premium Investor Stream (PIS)

The Premium Investor Stream is designed for people who would like to invest at least AUD15million in complying investments. Applicants can only be nominated by Austrade on behalf of the Australian government.

Complying investments include Australian securities exchange listed assets, Australia government or semi-government bonds or notes, corporate bonds or notes issued by an Australian exchange listed entity, Australian proprietary limited companies, real property excluding residential, deferred annuities issued by Australian registered life companies or state or territory government approved philanthropic contributions.

8.6Entrepreneur Stream (ES)

The Entrepreneur stream is for people with an innovative idea and a business plan to undertake the commercialisation of a product or service, or develop an enterprise or business in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a State or Territory Government.

Applicants must be below the age of 55 years and have competent English. Applicants must have secured a funding agreement for at least AUD200,000 from a Commonwealth Government agency, state or territory government, publicly funded research organisation, investor registered as an Australian Venture Capital Limited Partnership or Early State Venture Capital Limited Partnership, specified higher education provider. Complying activities exclude residential real estate, labour hire or the purchasing of an existing enterprise or a franchise in Australia.