Business Innovation and Investment (188 Visa)

The 188A visa is suitable for individuals whose nomination is supported by a non-federal Australian government (i.e. a territory or state government) and who meet the required points test score for this visa. Nominations must be applied for by using the SkillSelect system to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).

188A visas are 5-year temporary visas intended for individuals who are looking to manage and own a business in Australia. This business can be new or pre-existing. Once an individual owns or holds a significant proportion of a business in Australia, they can become eligible for permanent residence via a Business Innovation & Investment (Residence) Subclass 888 visa. 188A visas can be extended by up to two years once they have held their existing visa for at least three years. Applications for subclass 188 visas can be made from either overseas or within Australia.

NB: Applicants currently in Australia must already hold another substantive visa orBridging A, B or C visa.

Updates:

188A – Business Innovation Stream

188 Visa Requirements: ·         Ownership or significant part-ownership of a business with an annual turnover greater than AUD 750,000 for at least 2 of the last 4 fiscal years; and

·         Net total personal and business assets of more than AUD 1,250,000; and

·         No older than 55 years of age, unless in possession of an exceptional economic benefit exception certification from the nominating state or territory government; and

·         Scores at least the minimum (currently 65 points) Business Innovation and Investment Points Test pass mark

·         Can demonstrate a suitably successful track record in business

Subclass 888 Visa Requirements: ·         Applicants must have held a subclass 188A visa for a minimum of one year in the last two years at the time they submit their application

·         Applicants must have owned and managed an Australian business with minimum annual turnover of AUD 300,000 for a minimum of two of the previous four years

·         The applicant and/or their partner should meet at least two out of the following criteria must meet two of the following three criteria for the 12 months:

  • Minimum AUD 200,000 in assets
  • Net personal and business assets in Australia of no less than $600,000
  • Runs a business which employs a minimum of two full-time members of staff in Australia

Applicants must score a minimum of 65 points (the pass mark) in the points test in order to qualify to submit an application in the Business Innovation Stream or Investor Stream of the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188).

Applicants for the Significant Investor stream, Premium Investor stream, Business Innovation Extension stream or Significant Investor Extension stream are not required to meet any points test requirements.

The points test awards a pre-defined number of points for a range of different attributes, characteristics and experiences related to an applicant’s ability to work, invest or otherwise bring their skills and talents to Australia.

Points are given according to an applicant’s individual circumstances in relation to:

  • age
  • English language ability
  • qualifications
  • experience in business or investment
  • net personal and business assets
  • business turnover
  • innovation.

Unless otherwise stated, applicants are assessed on each of the following factors and awarded the specified number of points depending on their personal circumstances and experience.

Factor Description Points
Age 18–24 years 20
25–32 years 30
33–39 years 25
40–44 years 20
45–54 years 15
55 and older 0
English language ability Vocational English (IELTS 5 or equivalent) 5
Proficient English (IELTS 7 or equivalent) 10
Educational qualifications Bachelors degree, diploma or vocational qualification awarded by an Australian education institute or international educational institution of a recognised standard 5
Bachelors degree in business, science or technology awarded by an Australian institution or international educational institution of a recognised standard 10
Financial assets Individual and/or their partner’s net personal and business assets over the last two years:
Not less than AUD 1,250,000 5
Not less than AUD 1,750,000 15
Not less than AUD 2,250,000 25
Not less than AUD 2,750,000 35
Business turnover Owned business turnover in at least two out of the four previous fiscal years
Not less than AUD 750,000 5
Not less than AUD 1,250,000 15
Not less than AUD 1,750,000 25
Not less than AUD 2,250,000​ 35
Business Innovation stream only
Business experience
Previous ownership of at least one business for:
Not less than 4 years within the preceding 5 years 10
Not less than 7 years within the preceding 8 years 15
Investor stream only
Investor experience
Holding of eligible investments with a value of no less than AUD 250,000 for:
Not less than 4 years 10
Not less than 7 years 15​
Business innovation qualifications
Holding of a registered patent or design for at least one year which is used by the applicant’s main business in its day-to-day activity 15
Holding of a registered trademark used by applicant’s main business for at least one year 10
Ownership or daily management of a joint-owned business for at least one year 5
Ownership or significant part-ownership in applicant’s main business for which export trade makes up at least half its annual turnover 15
Ownership or significant part-ownership in applicant’s main business which has an average 20% turnover growth for three consecutive years and which employs a minimum of 10 full-time employees 10
Ownership or significant part-ownership in applicant’s main business which has received a government start-up grant in their home country of at least a value equivalent to AUD 10,000, or venture capital start-up or expansion financing of at least a value equivalent to AUD 100,000
10
Special endorsement Formal endorsement from a state or territory goverment or government agency confirming that you are proposing a business with particular benefit to that part of Australia. 10

Age

Up to 30 points can be awarded to applicants based on their age at the time of submitting their visa application.

Applicants for both the Investor and the Business Innovation stream are not allocated any points towards their points test total for their age if they are 55 or over.

English ability

Users of vocational-level English are awarded 5 points providing that in the three years prior to submitting their application they met the following thresholds in at least one type of formal English language test:

Test Score*
International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic or General Training) At least 5 for each of the 4 test components
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) At least 4 for listening, 4 for reading, 14 for writing and 14 for speaking
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) At least 36 for each of the 4 test components
Occupational English Test (OET) At least B for each of the 4 test components
Cambridge C1 Advanced test ​At least 154 in each of the 4 test components
Users of ‘Proficient’ English are awarded 10 points.

Citizens of the USA, Canada, the UK, the Republic of Ireland or New Zealand are usually assumed to have a ‘proficient’ level of English by virtue of their nationality. Other passport holders, even those from other majority English-speaking countries, may have to show evidence of having met the following thresholds in at least one type of formal English language test:

Test Score*
International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic or General Training) At least 7 for each of the 4 test components​
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) At least 24 for listening, 24 for reading, 27 for writing and 23 for speaking
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) At least 65 for each of the 4 test components​
Occupational English Test (OET) At least B for each of the 4 test components​
Cambridge C1 Advanced test At least 185 in each of the 4 test components​

Qualifications

Educational qualifications Bachelors degree, diploma or vocational qualification awarded by an Australian education institution or recognised foreign education institution 5
 Bachelors degree in science, technology or business awarded by an Australian education institution or recognised foreign education institution 10

Experience in business or investment

As many as 15 points can be awarded if the applicant can show evidence that they have an established track record of relevant investments or business experience.

For the Business Innovation stream:

    • experience of at least four years in the preceding five years (10 points)
    • experience of at least seven years in the preceding eight years (15 points)

For the Investor stream, eligible investments of at least AUD 100,000 for:

    • at least the previous four years (10 points)
    • at least the previous seven years (15 points).

Net personal and business assets

Points can be awarded based on the assets of the applicant and/or their partner in the previous two financial years:

At least AUD 1,250,000 5
At least AUD 1,750,000 15
At least AUD 2,250,000 25
At least AUD 2,750,000 35

Business turnover

Points can be awarded based on the applicant’s main business’s turnover in at least two of the previous four financial years:

At least AUD 750,000 5
At least AUD 1,250,000 15
At least AUD 1.,750,000 25
At least AUD 2,250,000​ 35

The Investor stream does not have any requirements or points awards for business turnover.

Business innovation

The Business Innovation stream’s assessment awards points based on the following:

  • Holding of a registered patent or design(15 points)
    • This must have been registered for a minimum of 12 months
    • It must also be utilised in the regular operation of the applicant’s main business
  • Registered trademarks (10 points)
    • This must have been registered for a minimum of 12 months
    • It must also be utilised in the regular operation of the applicant’s main business
  • Joint venture agreements (5 points)
    • The joint venture agreement must be supported by formal documentation and have been active for a minimum of 12 months
    • The applicant must take an active part in the regular operations and decision-making of the venture
  • Export trade (15 points)
    •  Ownership or significant part-ownership in applicant’s main business for which export trade makes up at least half its annual turnover
  • Gazelle businesses (fast-growing new businesses) (10 points)
    • The applicant’s main business must be less than five years old
    • Its annualised growth, averaged over three financial years, must be more than 20% per year
    • It must have employed at least ten individuals full-time for at least one of the three years
  • Innovation venture capital or grant funding (10 points)
    • The applicant’s business must have received start-up or expansion financing of at least AUD 10,000 (for grants) or AUD 100,000 (for venture capital)

Special endorsement

State and Territory Governments have the ability to offer formal support to applicants by affirming that the business being proposed will bring a particular important benefit to the area for which they are responsible. Providing such a Special Endorsement will usually result in 10 points being awarded to the visa applicant.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

  • 188 Visa validity: 4 years and 3 months
  • Holders of subclass 188 Business Innovation visas can, in certain conditions, apply for a single extension to their visa of two years

Other 188 Visa eligibility streams:

NB: Obtaining a visa for the specific purposes of business migration can be time-consuming and complex. It is therefore critical that individuals seeking to apply for an Australian visa for business identify the business visa category that gives them the best chance of having a visa granted.

Contact us today for a commitment free briefing with our Registered Migration Agents in Melbourne to find more about your visa options.