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BUSINESS VISAS

188 Business Innovations and Investment Visa (PROV)

132 Business Talent

888 Business and Innovation

Establishing a Business

Investing in Australia

Taxation in Australia

 188 Business Innovations and Investment Visa (PROV)

This visa is for people who have a successful business or investment career, and have a genuine and realistic commitment to be involved in investing or business in Australia.

 

This visa is also the first step towards being granted a permanent Business Skills visa.

 

You must pay a non-refundable visa charge when you lodge the Expression of Interest (EOI).

 

Who is eligible for a Business Innovation and Investment Visa (188)?

 

This visa is for investors/business people from overseas who are willing to invest funds in a business and/or designated investment in Australia for four (4) years.

 

You must lodge the Expression of Interest (EOI) before you can be invited to apply.

 

You must be less than 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed business will be of exceptional economic benefit to the relevant region.

 

You must score at least 65 on the Innovation Points test. Points are awarded for:

 

  •   age

  •   English language ability

  •   qualifications

  •   experience in business or investments

  •   net personal and business assets

  •   business turnover

  •   innovation

 

On rare occasions, the nominating state or territory government can award you 10 points towards the test because they think your proposed business is of exceptional economic benefit to them.

 

Other Requirements for a Business Innovation and Investment Visa (188)

 

Depend on whether you apply for the Business Innovation stream or the Investor stream, you need to satisfy the following requirements:-

 

Business Innovation stream

 

If you apply for the Business Innovation stream, you (or your partner, or you and your partner combined) must have:

 

 1. total assets of at least AUD800 000

 2. total annual turnover of at least AUD500 000 in at least two of the four fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply

  owned at least:

  •  51 per cent of a business with turnover of less than AUD400 000 per annum, or

  •  30 per cent of a business with turnover of more than AUD400 000 per annum, or

  •  10 per cent of a publicly-listed company

  •  an overall successful business career with no involvement in unacceptable business activities

 3. managed a business, in which you spent less than half your time on professional, technical or trade services

 4. a strong desire to own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia.

 

Investor stream

 

If you apply for the Investor stream, you (or your partner, or you and your partner combined) must:

 

  •   have a net value of at least AUD2.25 million for the two fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply

  •   have an overall successful record of eligible investment or qualifying business activity with no involvement in unacceptable activities

  •   have a high level of management skill in relation to eligible investments and/or qualifying business activity

  •   have at least three years' experience of direct involvement in managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments

  •   make your government-approved designated investment before a visa can be granted

  •   have a genuine and realistic commitment to continuing your business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.

 

You (or your partner, or you and your partner combined) must also have had one of the following:

 

  •   direct involvement, for at least one of the five fiscal years you are invited to apply, in managing your eligible investments that total at least AUD1.5 million, or

  •   direct involvement, for at least one of the five fiscal years before you are invited to apply, in managing a qualifying business in which you owned at least 10 per cent of the total value of the business.

 

Benefits of the Business Innovation and Investment Visa (188)

 

With this visa you can travel in and out of Australia any number of times as long as the visa is valid, have your family accompany you to Australia (they will have access to work and study rights) and establish a pathway to permanent residence.

 

If you are in the Business Innovation stream, you can renew your visa for an additional two years, a renewal application must be lodged online and your state or territory government must confirm, in writing, that they continue to support you. 

 

132 Business Talent

132 Business Talent (PERM)

This permanent visa is designed for high calibre business people who are owners or part owners of an overseas business and have a genuine and realistic commitment to participate in the management of a new or existing business in Australia.

 

You must be sponsored by a state or territory government. This visa is for high calibre business people from overseas who are less than 55 years old, and their families.

 

Who is eligible for a Business Talent Visa Permanent (132)?

 

You must be less than 55 years old (exceptions apply) and have an overall successful business career.

 

You must be sponsored by an appropriate regional authority of a State or Territory Government and be invited to apply for the visa.

 

Other Requirements for a Business Talent Visa Permanent (132)

 

An EOI (Expression of Interest) must be submitted for you to be invited. You must nominate in EOI one of the Significant Business History stream or Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream and satisfy the relevant requirements. To talk to us about EOI, click here.

 

Significant Business History stream

 

You (and your spouse combined) had net assets in a qualifying business of $400,000 for at least two (2) of the four (4) fiscal years immediately before you apply.

 

You (and your spouse combined) had total assets of at least AUD1.5 million that can be legally transferred to Australia within two years of the visa being granted

 

The annual turnover of your main business (or two main businesses combined) was at least AUD $3,000,000 in at least two of the four fiscal years immediately before you apply.

 

You (and your partner combined) must have owned at least:

  •   51 per cent of the business where the turnover is less than AUD400 000 per annum

  •   30 per cent of the business where the turnover is AUD400 000 or more per annum

  •   10 per cent where the business is a publicly listed company.

 

Your (or your and your spouse's) total assets have a net value of at least $1,500,000, and were legally acquired and are capable of being transferred to Australia within two years of being granted this visa.

 

You (or your spouse) have never been involved in unacceptable business or investment activities and you have a commitment to develop and maintain an ownership interest in a business in Australia and you must maintain direct and continuous involvement in the management of that business.

 

Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream

 

You must have obtained at least AUD1 million in funding from an Australian Venture capital firm for the start-up, product commercialisation or business development relating to a promising high value business idea.

 

Benefits of the Business Talent Visa (132)

With this visa you can work in a new or existing business in Australia, travel in and out of Australia any number of times as long as the visa is valid, study in Australia, have your family accompany you to Australia (they will have access to work and study rights) and live in Australia as a permanent resident for five years (after 5 years, you will need to apply for a resident return visa).

 

Business Obligations

 

Significant Business History stream

 

If you are in this stream, after entering Australia, you must:

  •   establish a qualifying business in Australia, or

  •   participate in an existing qualifying business in Australia.

 

In the business, you must:

  •   maintain substantial ownership

  •   maintain direct and continuous involvement in the day-to-day management of the business

  •   make decisions that affect the overall direction and performance of the business in a way that benefits the Australian economy.

 

Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream

 

If you are in this stream, after entering Australia, you must meet the requirements of your venture capital agreement.

 

888 Business and Innovation

888 Businesses and Innovation Visa (PERM)

 

You can apply for permanent migration with this visa if you are a holder of the provision Business and Innovation (188) Visa in Australia, and have met the requirements prescribed.

 

Who is eligible for a Business and Innovation Visa (888)?

 

You need to be the primary holder of a provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188).

 

NO Expression of Interest, but you do need to:

 

  •   have met all the requirements of your visa, in the stream in which you first applied

  •   not have been involved in any unacceptable business or investment activities

  •   be nominated by an Australian state or territory.

 

Other Requirements for Business and Innovation (888) Visa

 

Business Innovation stream

 

If you are in the Business Innovation stream, you must have been in Australia and held your provisional visa for at least two of the four years immediately before you apply.

 

In addition, you (or your partner, or you and your partner combined) must:

 

  have had and continue to have a direct and continuous management role in a main business (or two main businesses) in Australia for at least two years immediately before you apply

  have had a turnover, in that main business (or two main businesses), of at least AUD300 000 in the year immediately before you apply

  own at least one of the following percentages of that main business (or two main businesses):

  • 51 per cent of a business with a turnover of less than AUD400 000 per annum, or

  • 30 per cent of a business with a turnover of more than AUD400 000 per annum, or

  • 10 per cent of a publicly-listed company


not have acquired the ownership in your main business (or two main businesses) from a person who was an applicant for, or a holder of, a permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888), unless you and that person had a joint interest in the main business for at least one year before you lodge your application for this visa.

 

You (or your partner, or you and your partner combined) must also meet two of the following criteria:

 

  the net value of your assets in the main business (or two main businesses) in Australia is at least AUD200 000 throughout the year immediately before you apply

  the net value of your personal and business assets in Australia has been at least AUD600 000 throughout the year immediately before you apply

  you employed, in your main business (or two main businesses), throughout the year immediately before you apply, at least the equivalent of two full-time employees who are:

  • Australian citizens, or

  • Australian permanent residents, or

  • New Zealand passport holders, and

  • not your family members.

Investor stream

 

If you are in the Investor stream, you (or your partner, or you and your partner combined) must have:

 

  •   held a designated investment with an Australian state or territory for at least four years

  •   a satisfactory record of complying with Australian laws, including those relating to taxation, superannuation, workplace relations and other laws relevant to your business

  •   not been involved in unacceptable business or investment activities

  •   a strong desire to continue your business and investment activity in Australia.

 

Benefits of the Business and Innovation Visa (888)

 

With this visa you can work in your established business in Australia, travel in and out of Australia any number of times as long as your visa is valid, study in Australia, have your family accompany you to Australia, who will have the same entitlements as you and live in Australia as a permanent resident for five years (after 5 years, you will need to apply for a resident return visa).

 

Establishing a Business

Establishing a Business in Australia

 

Establishing a business in Australia involves dealing with Federal, State/Territory and local government agencies. You will need to register your business for taxation purposes, register your business or company name, your domain name and, in some instances, obtain business licences and permits.

 

Business Name Registration

 

Any company or individual carrying on business under a name other than the company's or individual's own name must register that name in the State or Territory in which the business trades.

 

Registration of a business name also provides an avenue for obtaining a .com.au domain name. However, registration of the business name is based on the availability of the name.

 

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) operates a National Names Index which is a record of all company and business names registered in Australia, as well as some association names. You can check the Index, free of charge to see if your proposed business name already exists. You should also ensure that your proposed business name does not infringe any Trade Mark by checking with IP Australia.

 

Business Structure

 

An important decision you need to make when starting a business is choosing the business structure that best suits your needs and budget. There are four main types of business structures commonly used by small-medium sized business in Australia:

 

  •   Sole traders

  •   Partnerships

  •   Trusts

  •   Companies*.

 

* Application for incorporation (to become a company) is made to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). On registration, each corporation is allocated an Australian Company Number (CAN), a unique identifying number.

 

All businesses that intend to trade must register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) for taxation purposes. Your ABN is unique to your business and is important in your dealings with other businesses and government agencies. Once your business turns over more than $50,000, you will also need to register for Goods & Services Tax (GST). To obtain input tax credits for GST purposes, your business must have an ABN number.

 

Employing people

 

As an employer, you have certain legal obligations to your staff. You must register with the Australian Taxation Office, pay wages according to the relevant State of Federal award, keep employment records, comply with occupational health and safety requirements, comply with employment terms and conditions and pay superannuation contributions.

 

Competition and Consumer Protection

 

The Trade Practices Act 1974 is administered by the Australian Competitions and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and encourages competition and the conduct of a free market. It restricts certain forms of exclusive dealing, abuse of market power and mergers which result in a substantial drop in competition.

 

Investing in Australia

Business Investment

Australia’s Foreign Investment Policy (the Policy) provides guidance to foreign investors to assist understanding of the Government’s approach to administering the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975  (the Act). The Policy also identifies investment categories that need to be notified to the Government for prior approval, even if the Act does not appear to apply.

 

The Treasurer can block proposals that are contrary to the national interest or apply conditions to the way proposals are implemented to ensure they are not contrary to the national interest. Factors that are typically considered by the Treasurer when assessing proposals against the national interest are outlined in the Policy.

 

Confidentiality

 

The Government may share foreign investment application information with government departments and agencies for consultation purposes, including Australian State and Territories. However, the Government respects any ‘commercial-in-confidence’ information it receives and ensures that appropriate security is provided.

 

The Government will not provide such information to third parties outside of the Government unless it has the applicant’s permission or it is ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction.

 

The Government respects the privacy of personal information provided by applicants, as per the requirements of the Privacy Act 1988  and the Freedom of Information Act 1982 .

 

Taxation in Australia

Taxation in Australia

Taxable income is computed in broadly the same way for individuals and businesses. Once assessable income is calculated, allowable deductions (losses, essential outgoings and some capital payments) are deducted to arrive at the taxable income on which tax is charged.

 

Profits

Company profits are taxable under an imputation system at a flat rate of 30%.

 

Income Tax

If you draw a salary as a director or employee of your business, you will be liable for personal income tax. Beyond the tax-free threshold, you will be taxed according to marginal rates of taxation.

 

Double Taxation Agreements

Australia has a number of Double Taxation Agreements with a number of other countries. These agreements mean that, in most cases, tax is imposed only by the country of residence of the taxpayer. However, the country in which the income originates may impose some withholding taxes on dividends, interests and royalties. You will generally be considered a resident of Australia for tax purposes if you do not have a permanent place of abode outside Australia and you spend 183 days or more in any one tax year in Australia.

 

Capital Gains

Capital gains arising from the disposal of assets are, in most cases, treated as income and subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). The rate of CGT may be reduced where the asset has been held longer than 12 months before disposal.

 

Goods & Services Tax (GST)

GST is charged at a flat rate of 10% and is levied on the supply of goods and services that are connected with Australia. There are some exemptions in relation to the supply of certain goods and services.

 

GST is essentially a value-added tax, which means that tax is paid at each step along the chain of transactions involving the goods or services until the end user is reached. It is the consumer who ultimately bears the tax.

 

Registered suppliers can claim an input tax credit (a GST refund) for the GST component of goods and services acquired in the course of carrying out their business.

 

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty is levied on a wide range of transactions, but not on share transactions.

 

Customs Duty

Customs Duty is payable at the time goods enter Australia and is generally levied on the customs value of the goods, which may not be the same as the sale price.

 

Taxation responsibilities as an employer

As an employer, you are obliged to withhold tax from your employee's income and make monthly payments to the Australian Taxation Office.

You are also required to provide a minimum level of superannuation support for your employees (currently 9% of salary).

Tax may also be payable in respect of fringe benefits offered to employees, such as company cars and medical benefits.