888 Visa Lawyers
Subclass 888 visa is the final stage of the Business Visa scheme for 188A visa holders. For successful transition to Subclass 888, there are a number of additional prerequisites that need to be satisfied. Many of these requirements must be complied with whilst holding the Subclass 188 visa. Therefore, it is critical that you have the full understanding of the relevant criteria before embarking on the 188A process.
888 Business Visa Permanent
Subclass 888 has four (4) streams which mirror the streams available under Subclass 188. Such streams consist of the following:
- Business Innovation
- Significant Investor
Applicants must apply for Subclass 888 under the stream which corresponds to their Subclass 188 provisional visa.
Note that as of 1 July 2021, it is no longer possible to apply for Subclass 188 under the Premium Investor stream. As such, only existing 188 Premium Investor visa holders may qualify for Subclass 888 under the Premium Investor stream.
888A Visa Requirements
You must have been present in Australia as a holder of a Subclass 188A visa for at least 1 year in the 2 years immediately prior to the 888 visa application being lodged. Failure to have resided in Australia for this period will disqualify you for a 888A visa. Time spent on a visa other than a Subclass 188A will generally not be counted towards this requirement.
You must have ownership interest in at least one actively operating business in Australia in the 2 years immediately prior to the 888A visa application. The requisite minimum ownership percentage depends on the size and nature of the business, and is as follows:
- 51% – when the annual turnover of a business is less than $400,000, or
- 30% – when the annual turnover of a business is more than $400,000, or
- 10% – when the business is a publicly listed company on an Australian securities exchange.
“Ownership interest” refers to legal title to the business, meaning most applicants will be shareholders, partners or sole proprietors of their eligible business. Indirect interests, such as those held through one or more trusts, partnerships or companies, may also satisfy this criterion.
You must also maintain involvement in the day-to-day running of the business. Ownership on its own will be insufficient to satisfy this requirement.
Business Acquisition from 888 Visa Applicant or Holder
Additional criteria apply where the main business is bought from a person who has applied for or was granted a 888 Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa. You as the buyer must show that ownership interest has been shared with the seller for at least 1 year prior to the current application.
This is intended to prevent successive business visa applicants recycling a single Australian business in order to achieve permanent residency. Prior to the purchase of an Australian business, it is crucial for applicants to verify that the seller is not a business visa holder or applicant themselves. It is generally beneficial to have the business vendor provide a warranty to this effect.
Active Business Management
You must comply with the relevant Australian laws during your business operation in Australia, that is having an Australian Business Number, submitting Business Activity Statements and tax returns to the Australian Taxation Office, for the two (2) years prior to the 888A application.
You must also show that you have had a direct and continuous management role within the main business(es).
Your main business must have had a total turnover of $300,000 in the twelve (12) months before the 888A visa application. Turnover is defined as the revenue generated in the ordinary course of business activities, including:
- Sale of goods
- Fees for service
- Commission revenue
- Capital gains
- Government subsidies
Note that States and Territories may impose higher turnover thresholds for 888A State nominations, or waive this turnover requirement.
Business Criteria – “2 out of 3” Requirements
Although the nominating State or Territory authority may exercise discretion in waiving business criteria, in most cases the primary applicant needs to satisfy at least two (2) out of the following three (3) criteria:
- $200,000 of personal assets in the main business(es) during the twelve (12) months immediately before the 888A visa application, and the threshold value must continue to be maintained.
- Two (2) full time hours by Australian or New Zealander employees who are not your family unit.
- $600,000 of personal assets in Australia during the twelve (12) months immediately before the 888A visa application, and the threshold value must continue to be maintained.
Note that in all cases, assets and businesses owned by you and your spouse would jointly all count towards this requirement.
888 State Nomination
Just as with the Subclass 188A provisional visa, applicants must apply to their nominating state or territory for nomination under Subclass 888A. Each state and territory have implemented divergent criteria for their Subclass 888A Business and Innovation stream nomination.
We have summarised some of the basic criteria as required by each participating jurisdiction. Note that nomination criteria is always changing, with the below criteria reflecting requirements as at the time of writing:
New South Wales (NSW)
New South Wales Subclass 188A nomination requirements are as follows:
- You must prove that you have been involved in an actively operating New South Wales business for the last 2 years.
- For each financial quarter of those 2 years of business operations, you must demonstrate one or more of the following:
- Substantial sales revenue;
- Leasing or ownership of a business premises;
- Employment of staff;
- Significant capital investment, other than purchase of motor vehicles; and
- Substantive purchase of stock
- You must meet 2 of the following three criteria:
- Employ the equivalent of 2 full-time workers who are not relatives of yours and who are Australian citizens, permanent residents or New Zealand passport holders.
- Hold net personal and business assets in Australia of either $900,000, if your business is in Sydney, or $600,000 if your business is in regional Australia.
- Hold net assets in your New South Wales business or businesses of either $300,000, if your business is in Sydney, or $200,000 if your business is in regional Australia.
- You must demonstrate your active management of your New South Wales business.
- You must have made a total business investment of either $500,000, if your business is in Sydney, or $300,000 if your business is in regional Australia. This investment can be in any of the following:
- Plant and equipment;
- Inventory; or
- You must provide a resume, demonstrating a successful business career.
- If your 188A nomination was in relation to a regional New South Wales business, your business operations must be in regional New South Wales.
An application fee of $1,397 is payable when applying from within Australia. Applications made outside Australia attract a reduced fee of $1,270. A response can generally be expected within 4 weeks of lodging the application.
Victorian Subclass 888A visa nominations carry the following requirements:
- You must reside in Victoria, and will generally be expected to be absent from the state for no more than 6 weeks per year whilst holding your Subclass 188A visa.
- You must demonstrate a genuine commitment to living in Victoria.
- You must own and operate a Victorian business for 2 years.
- Your Victorian business must not be:
- Small scale property development;
- Small scale freight forwarding;
- Commodity and scrap metal export;
- Passive investment; or
- Grey market or parallel exporting.
- If your business involves exporting, these activities must have made a direct contribution to the Victorian economy. Such a contribution may include:
- Increases to the export value of Victorian goods and services;
- Creation or retention of Victorian jobs, including those created via flow-on effects to other Victorian suppliers;
- Other local economic benefits of the business;
- Assistance provided to Victorian businesses in exporting their products or addressing market gaps;
- Expansion of export markets.
- Must demonstrate that you have been responsible for the day-to-day operation and overall strategic direction of the proposed Victorian business.
- If you were nominated for the Subclass 188 visa on or after 22 July 2019, you must have employed at least 1 full-time employee, that is not a relative of yours, in your main business for a minimum of 12 months within the 24 months before your 888A nomination application. 30 hours per week will be considered “full-time.” The employee must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand passport holder.
Queensland Subclass 888A nominations merely require that applicants:
- Invest a total of $200,000 in a main business, or two (2) main businesses, in Queensland.
- If your business or businesses are different from those proposed in your Subclass 188A nomination application, the new business or businesses must be approved by the Queensland authorities first.
- An application fee of $825 is payable when applying from within Australia. Applications made outside Australia attract a reduced fee of $750.
Western Australia (WA)
Western Australian Subclass 888A nominations are subject to the following criteria:
- Ownership and management of up to two (2) businesses actively trading in Western Australia during the 24 months preceding the 888A nomination application;
- The business must be substantiated through provision of BAS and must relate to the initial business proposal outlined in the initial Western Australian 188A nomination application;
- Reside in Western Australia for at least one (1) year in the two (2) years immediately before the 888A nomination application;
- Turnover of at least $300,000 in the Western Australian main business during the last 12 months; and
- If the turnover criterion is not met, exceptional circumstances must exist for waiving said requirement.
Applicants must also meet all obligations to which their Subclass 188A nomination was subject, including:
- Maintaining total net assets in Western Australia of $900,000;
- Maintaining total net business assets in Western Australia of $300,000;
- Create one (1) full-time job for an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand passport holder.
- Establish a business in accordance with the initial proposal contained in the Subclass 188A nomination application or a business approved by Western Australian authorities after the 188A nomination.
South Australia (SA)
South Australia requires Subclass 888A nomination applicants to:
- Hold a SA nominated 188A visa or have a completed release form from the previous nominating state.
- Maintain your primary residence and business location in South Australia for the 2 years before your subclass 888A nomination application.
- Meet any special requirements as relates to your Subclass 188A nomination
Special requirements may vary depending on negotiations between the visa applicant and the South Australian authority at the 188A nomination stage.
To be nominated for Subclass 888A by the Tasmanian government, you must:
- Live in and operate a business in Tasmania for 2 years;
- Provide a description of your contributions to the Tasmanian business community or economy;
- Satisfy two (2) of the following three (3) criteria:
- Employ 2 Australian citizens, permanent residents or New Zealand passport holders;
- Have total business assets in Tasmania of $200,000 and total personal and business assets of $600,000; or
- Your Tasmanian business must achieve an annual turnover of $300,000.
Applicants are further required to provide a description of their future intentions.
Australian Capital Territory – Canberra (ACT)
Applicants for ACT 888A nomination must satisfy the following criteria:
- Attend an interview with territory authorities to discuss one’s level of ACT business investment activity;
- Meet two (2) of the following three (3) criteria:
- Have invested $200,000 into establishing or purchasing an ACT business;
- Invest at least $600,000 in total personal and business assets in the ACT; or
- Employ the equivalent of 2 full-time employees who are not related to you and are Australian citizens, permanent residents or New Zealand passport holders;
- For at least 2 years, maintain direct and continuous management of one’s main business in the ACT for the 2 years before you apply; and
- One’s ACT main business must achieve an annual turnover of $300,000 in the 12 months immediately before the Subclass 888A nomination application.
Northern Territory (NT)
Northern Territory Subclass 888A nomination merely requires that applicants establish and maintain the business operations of their main business in the Northern Territory for the preceding 2 years. Applications are made via email directly to territory authorities.
888 Visa Application Charges
- Primary applicant: $3,025
- Secondary applicant 18 years old and over: $4,890
- Any other applicant: Nil
*Adult applicants who cannot demonstrate “functional English” may attract an additional charge of $4,890, provided a comparable charge has not been paid previously in relation to a subclass 188 visa.
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