Visa Summary

The provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa is part of the Australian Business Innovation and Investment Program. You must submit an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect and be invited to apply for this visa.

The visa has three streams:

  • The Business Innovation stream is relevant for the people who want to own and manage a new or existing business in Australia.
  • The Investor stream is for people who want to make a designated investment in an Australian state or territory and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.
  • The Significant Investor stream is essential for the people who are willing to invest at least AUD5 million into complying investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia after the original investment has matured.
  • Premium Investor stream: for people who are willing to invest at least AUD15million into complying premium investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by Austrade on behalf of the Australian government.

This visa allows you to:

  • establish a new business or develop an existing business in Australia (the Business Innovation stream)
  • make a designated investment with an Australian state or territory government (the Investor stream)
  • invest at least AUD$5 million in Australia (the Significant Investor stream).

How does this visa work?

You can apply for this visa if you:

  • are invited to apply
  • have a successful business or investment history
  • have adequate personal and business assets
  • were nominated by a state or territory government.

This visa allows you to:

  • establish a new or develop an existing business in Australia, make a designated investment with an Australian state or territory government, or make and maintain complying investments in Australia
  • travel in and out of Australia for the life of your visa
  • bring family members with you to Australia
  • seek permanent residence by applying for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888).

If you have held this visa for at least two years in the Business Innovation stream, you may be eligible to apply early for the permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888). You must also have met all the obligations of your provisional visa and all the requirements of the permanent visa.

How long your visa lasts

Your visa will be valid for four years from the date it is granted.

Extending your visa

You may be eligible to extend your Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) provisional visa:

  • Business Innovation stream - you can renew your visa for an additional two years if you need extra time to meet the criteria needed to apply for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888)
  • Investor stream - you cannot renew your visa
  • Significant Investor stream - you can renew your visa twice, to give you a maximum of eight years on this provisional visa.

Visa application process

This information explains what you need to do to apply for a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188).

Provide documents to prove your claims

You must provide documents that prove the claims you make in your application. These are identified and explained in the Document checklist that Active Migration Australia will prepare and send you, in addition to working with a Registered Migration Agent you may also be assigned a migration coordinator to provide you with administirial assistance if required. You are encouraged to start compiling these documents early in the process, even before you submit your Expression of Interest.

Active Migration Australia will prepare, lodge and monitor the application on your behalf.

If the department of immigration needs more information or documents it will make the request through Active Migration Australia allow us to advise on the specific documents.

After you have applied for the Visa

After you lodge your application and documents, the department will let you know that it has received your information. You will receive an acknowledgement letter.

Wait for a decision

The department has service standards relating to the time it takes to process applications for this visa. Processing times can be affected by the country you come from and whether you lodge your application in or outside Australia.

Outside Australia: If you apply for this visa from outside Australia, do not make arrangements to move to Australia. Do not leave your employment, sell your home or book travel arrangements until you are advised in writing that you have been granted a visa.

In Australia: If you apply for this visa while you are in Australia, you may be eligible for a Bridging visa that allows you to stay in the country lawfully while your application is processed. You should apply for Bridging visa B (BVB) if you want to travel outside Australia while you are waiting for a decision.

Make your investment

For the Investor stream and the Significant Investor stream you must make your required investment before it is a requirement that you have made the required investment prior to your visa being granted.

You should not make a Designated Investment or a Complying Investment until you are advised in writing to do so by the office processing your application. Your investment must be made in time for you to enter Australia before expiry of your health and character clearances.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has advised that income you earn from your investment in Australia is subject to tax under Australian taxation law.

Visa Requirements

You can apply for this visa if:

  • you have been nominated by a state of territory government
  • you have received an invitation to apply for this visa.

Other requirements depend on the stream you listed in your Expression of Interest.

To be granted a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) you and all your family members must meet health and character requirements.

If you are in the Business Innovation stream

If you are in the Business Innovation stream, you must:

  • be younger 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
  • score at least 65 on the Innovation Points test
  • have a total annual turnover of at least AUD500 000 (in one or more of your main businesses) in at least two of the four fiscal years immediately before you are invited to 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
    • 30 per cent of a business with a turnover of more than AUD400 000 per annum
    • 10 per cent of a publicly-listed company
  • have managed a business, in which you spent less than half your time on professional (such as a doctor or lawyer), technical or trade services
  • have a genuine desire to own and maintain a management role in a business in Australia.

You (or your partner, or you and your partner combined) must also:

  • have total assets of at least AUD800 000 that have been legally acquired and able to be legally transferred to Australia within two years of the visa being granted
  • have an overall successful business career with no involvement in unacceptable business activities.

If you are in the Investor stream

If you apply for the Investor stream, you must:

  • be younger than 55 years of age, although a state or territory can waive this requirement if your proposed business or investment activity will be of exceptional economic benefit to the relevant region.
  • score at least 65 on the Innovation Points test
  • have a high level of management skill in relation to eligible investments or qualifying business activity
  • have at least three years' experience of direct involvement in managing one or more qualifying businesses or eligible investments
  • 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 total assets of at least AUD2.25 million for the two fiscal years immediately before you are invited to apply. These assets must have been legally acquired and able to be legally transferred to Australia within two years of the visa being granted
  • have an overall successful record of eligible investment or qualifying business activity with no involvement in unacceptable activities
  • be prepared to make your government-approved designated investment of AUD1.5 million using funds you have accumulated from your direct involvement, for at least one of the five fiscal years before you are invited to apply, in one of the following activities:
      • managing your eligible investments that total at least AUD1.5 million
      • managing a qualifying business in which you owned at least 10 per cent of the total value of the business.

If you are in the Significant Investor stream

If you apply for the Significant Investor stream, you must be prepared to invest at least AUD5 million in at least one of the following 'complying investments':

  • Commonwealth, state or territory government bonds
  • Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) regulated managed funds that are open to the general public and have a mandate for investing in one of the following Australian assets:
      • infrastructure projects in Australia;
      • cash held by Australian deposit taking institutions;
      • bonds issued by the Commonwealth Government or a State or Territory government;
      • bonds, equity, hybrids or other corporate debt in Australian companies and trusts listed on any Australian Stock Exchange;
      • bonds or term deposits issued by Australian financial institutions;
      • real estate in Australia;
      • Australian Agribusiness; and
      • other ASIC regulated managed funds that invest in the above list of investments.
  • direct investment into private Australian companies not listed on any Australian stock exchange. You must obtain an ownership interest in the company. The company must:
      • genuinely operate a qualifying business in Australia
      • be registered with ASIC
      • have an Australian Business Number (ABN).

You must also:

  • have a genuine and realistic commitment to continue your business and investment activity in Australia after the complying investment has been held continuously for the life of your provisional visa
  • have a genuine and realistic commitment to reside in the state or territory that provided nomination for your application.

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

  • have assets of at least AUD5 million that have been legally acquired, are unencumbered, and are available to be used to make the 'complying investment' in Australia
  • not have a history of involvement in unacceptable business or investment activities
  • agree not to take legal action against the Commonwealth for any loss of capital arising from your complying investment.

Conditions and obligations for holders of visa subclass 188

You and your family must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws. Failure to do so may result in your visa being cancelled or future visas being refused.

If you are residing in other country when the visa is granted, the department will specify the date by which you must enter Australia. Any dependants included on your application may not be able to marry before they enter Australia.

Business Innovation stream

If you are in this stream, after entering Australia, you must provide valuable input to the Australian economy. You must:

  • obtain and maintain substantial ownership in a business in Australia
  • participate, at a senior level, in the day-to-day management of that business.

In the business, you must also do at least one of the following:

  • develop business links with international markets
  • create or maintain employment in Australia
  • export Australian goods
  • produce goods or services that would otherwise be imported
  • introduce new or improved technology
  • add to commercial activity and competitiveness within sectors of the Australian economy.

The department may ask you to complete a monitoring survey about your business activities in Australia.

Investor stream

If you are in this stream, after entering Australia, you must maintain your designated investment for at least four years.

Significant Investor stream

If you are in this stream, after entering Australia, you must hold the complying investments continuously for the life of your visa. You can hold the complying investments continuously in any proportion across the investment options. You may switch between complying investments provided:

  • any funds you withdraw from your complying investments are reinvested into other complying investments within 30 days of withdrawing them
  • the sum withdrawn corresponds with the sum reinvested (irrespective of any gains and losses due to exposure to the investment market).

Funds reinvested into a complying investment within 30 days are taken to have been held continuously from the original investment date.