188B Investment Visa
188B Investor Visa is for individuals with prior business or investment experience to make investment of at least $2,500,000 in accordance with the complying investment framework.
You are assessed on points in accordance with Schedule 7A of Migration Regulations, and valid visa applications are made on being issued an invitation through Skillselect and a nomination by a chosen State or Territory.
Points: You must achieve a minimum score of 65 points on the Schedule 7A test, and be invited on SkillSelect to apply for the visa.
State Nomination: You must be nominated by a State or Territory Government in which you wish to reside. The criterion is different across different States. The Department would normally accept recommendation of the nominating State or Territory without further investigation.
Age: You must not have turned 55 at the time of invitation to qualify for the Australian investor visa. Although the States and Territories reserve the unfettered discretion to waive the age requirement, it is rarely invoked in practice.
Business or Investment Experience: You must have an overall successful record of eligible investment activity or qualifying business activity for at least three (3) years, during which you had been directly involved in their management. In doing so, you must also demonstrate a high level of management skill in relation to the eligible investment or qualifying business activity.
- In the case of a qualifying business, you must have maintained direct involvement in managing the business and owned 10% of the business for at least one of the 5 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation.
- In the case of an eligible investment, you must have maintained direct involvement in managing the investment which exceeded $1,500,000 for at least one of the 5 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation.
Qualifying Business: A qualifying business is defined as an enterprise that:
- Is operated for the purpose of making profit through the provision of goods or services (other than provision of rental property) to the public; and
- Is not operated substantially for the purpose of speculative or passive investment.
Eligible Investment: As a rule of thumb, it is an eligible investment if you own it for the purpose of producing a return in the form of income or capital gain, and not for personal use. It can be:
- Ownership interest in a business
- Loan to a business
- Cash on deposit
- Real estate
- Gold or silver bullion
Source of Funds: The funds must be unencumbered, and accumulated from either the qualifying businesses or eligible investment. If you intend to borrow funds from a third party, you will have to consider a Significant Investor Visa.
Assets: You must have a total of business and personal assets of $2,500,000 for the 2 fiscal years immediately before the time of invitation to apply for the visa. You may combine your partner’s assets for this calculation.
Genuine Intention to Reside: You must demonstrate your intention to reside in the nominating State for at least 2 years.
Complying Investment: The requisite investment must be structured with the following components:
- Venture Capital Fund – minimum 20% (that is, $500,000)
- Emerging Companies Investment – minimum 30% (that is, $750,000)
- Balancing Investment – maximum 50% or (that is, $1,250,000)
You cannot have direct involvement in managing your complying significant investment. Rules and regulations surrounding this matter go beyond Australian migration law, meaning you must engage an AFS licenced fund manager to oversee your complying significant investment.
After 1 July 2021, this no longer satisfies the requisite investment criteria for 188B Investor Visas.
188B State Nomination Criteria
188B Investor Visa Costs
In addition to the cost of your designated investment, you will be charged fees when lodging your visa application. The total cost depends on a number of factors, including the English proficiency of each adult applicant and the number of total applicants.
- Base application charge: $9,450
- Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $4,725
- Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $2,365
Second instalment, if the functional English cannot scored by the applicants
- Primary applicant without functional English: $9,795
- Secondary applicants who do not demonstrate functional English: $4,890
- Other applicants: Nil
188B Investor Visa FAQ
Q: What is the requisite management experience for 188B Investor Visa?
You must demonstrate a high level of management skills as a result of minimum 3-years of experience in direct management of one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments.
Indicative elements of direct and high-level management of a qualifying business include:
- Responsibility over employees.
- Strategic policy development.
- Skills to adapt to the Australian business environment.
*The business did not merely generate profits via appreciation of its assets.
Indicative elements of direct and high level management of an eligible investment include:
- Active evaluation on performance of assets against other potential investments.
- Strategic decision-making, including retention or sale of assets.
Q: What amounts to a successful record of the business or investment activities for 188B Investor Visa?
In determining business or investment success, you will be assessed in aggregation of all relevant factors. Certain factors which may indicate failure of business and investment, or attract further scrutiny, include:
- Disposing of a business or investment at a loss
- Decreasing profitability under your management
- Long periods of trading losses
- Insolvency, receivership or liquidation
In presence of any of the above factors, you would have to prove it was due to extenuating external circumstances, such as adverse market conditions, sudden change in trade regimes.
Q: Should the assets be liquid for 188B Investor Visa?
The assets which are calculated for their net value must be of sufficient liquidity to the extent that they can be sold and their proceeds can be transferred to Australia within 2 years of the 188B investor visa grant. Therefore, your property can only be included in the calculation if it is to be liquidated and transferred within the 2 years.
Q: How do I prove a loan to a business for the eligible investment?
A balance sheet of a business will evidence the value and ownership of the loan which you have made to the business. If it is not specified in the balance sheet, it would usually not be acceptable.
In China, non-performing loans may be eligible investments if they have accumulated as a result of allocating bank loans to finance inefficient state‑owned enterprises. A subsequent bank reform had created management companies, which bought the bad loans from China’s four (4) largest banks at book value and then auctioned them off to interested investors, largely domestic but also foreign concerns. This investment can be evidenced through loan documentation.
Q: Can a managed fund be an eligible investment to satisfy the requisite investment experience?
Managed fund products are acceptable if you can demonstrate that you made an informed decision in selecting the funds and you did not merely rely on a broker/ financial adviser to make the decision. You can also evince the requisite direct and high level of management skills with managed fund products.
Q: Can my home be an eligible investment and used to show the requisite investment experience?
Your personal residence is generally incapable of being an eligible investment, as it is considered to be an asset owned for personal use. By contrast, if you lease your property whilst living in another home you own, you may claim the leased property as an eligible investment.
Ownership of real estate is evidenced through legally recognised title deeds, and its value can be determined through property valuations by a licensed or registered valuer.