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.
Subclass 888 State Nomination Criteria
You must have been present in Australia as a holder of a 188A visa for at least 1 year in the 2 years immediately prior to lodging an 888 visa application. In addition, you must have held the 188A visa for three (3) years if the invitation was issued after 1 July 2021.
Failure to have resided in Australia for this period will disqualify you for an 888A visa. Time spent on a visa other than a Subclass 188A will not count 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 888 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 888 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 888 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 888 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 888 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 888 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 Secondary Applicants
For clause 888.311 to the Migration Regulations, the secondary applicant must be a member of the family unit of the primary applicant for an 888 visa. Specific to the 888 visa, the regulation 1.12(5A) definition of a member of the family unit enables consideration also of former family members as it only requires that the applicant:
- have been granted their 188 visa as a family member of the primary visa applicant; and
- be included in the primary applicant’s 888 visa application.
888 Visa Application Charges
- Primary applicant: $3,310
- Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $1,660
- Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $825
*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.