The Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188A visa) is a provisional visa allowing applicants intending to own or manage a business in Australia to stay for up to four years and three months. It is also a viable pathway to permanent residency. This article will provide a brief overview of the minimum requirements in each state and territory in Australia to lodge an application for the subclass 188A visa.


Before applying for the subclass 188A visa, you must first determine whether you are eligible to lodge an application. You will need to conduct an initial eligibility assessment to do this. To determine your eligibility, you will need to see if you satisfy the requirements and criteria for the visa (discussed below).

Once you determine your eligibility, you will then need to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA). In your EOI, you have the choice to be nominated by a specific state or territory or choose to be available for nomination by any state or territory. You do not need to provide supporting documents at this stage. However, you must be able to provide evidence that the information supplied in the EOI is correct when you are invited to apply for the visa.

If your EOI is successful and a state or territory nominates you, you will then be invited to lodge an application for this visa.

Requirements Across Australia

At the time that you are invited to apply for the subclass 188A visa, you must:

  • be under 55 years of age (unless you can prove that the business you propose has an exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory);
  • genuinely wish to own and maintain a major management role in a business in Australia;
  • score at least 65 points on the innovation points test, which considers factors such as your:
    • age;
    • English competency;
    • qualifications;
    • experience;
    • turnover;
    • assets; and
  • have had no involvement in unacceptable business or investment activities. This includes both you and your spouse or de-facto partner.

Key Differences Between States and Territories

When you are invited to apply for the subclass 188A visa, you must also have had a successful business career. The criteria determining business success vary between states and territories, and between regions.

Business Experience and Turnover

If you intend to migrate to Sydney, you must have had a qualifying ownership interest in up to two main businesses for at least two of the four fiscal years immediately before you make your application. These businesses must have had an annual turnover of at least AU$1 million.

The requirement in the rest of Australia is that you have had an annual turnover of at least $500,000. This includes:

  • regional NSW;
  • Queensland;
  • Western Australia;
  • Victoria;
  • South Australia;
  • Tasmania;
  • the ACT; and
  • the Northern Territory.

Net Assets, Investment and Proposed Business Activity

If your proposed business will be in Sydney, you (and your spouse, if applicable) must have total net business and personal assets of at least AU$1.3 million. You must be able to legally transfer these assets to Australia within two years after the granting of your visa. Your business commitment must also include at least AU$500,000 in business investment.

In regional NSW, the personal and business assets threshold is lower at AU$800,000, and the business investment threshold is AU$300,000.

In Queensland and Tasmania, you must demonstrate assets of at least AU$800,000 (including a minimum of AU$200,000 for investment), as well as a commitment to living in either state.

Victoria excludes certain industries from eligible proposed business activities, such as:

  • small scale property development;
  • freight forwarding; and
  • scrap metal export.

If you propose to engage in export activity, you must demonstrate that your business will make a direct contribution to the Victorian economy.

In South Australia and the ACT, if you are under 55 years of age, you must provide evidence that you have met either one (SA) or two (ACT) of the following criteria:

  • employed two full-time equivalent employees;
  • provided a minimum capital investment of AU$200,000; or
  • injected at least AU$600,000 of net personal and/or business assets.

These requirements change if you are over 55 years of age, or if you intend to invest in country or regional South Australia.

In Western Australia, you and your partner combined must have total net business and personal assets of at least $AU900,000. These must be held in Western Australia within two years after the granting of your visa.

Key Takeaways

A Business Innovation Visa (subclass 188A) is a provisional visa for applicants who intend to own or manage a business in Australia. Before you submit an EOI for the visa, ensure that you meet eligibility requirements for nomination for the visa. Requirements may vary between states and territories and include factors such as:

  • age;
  • language;
  • business conduct;
  • net personal and business assets; and
  • business investment and turnover.

If you have questions about your subclass 188A visa application, get in touch with LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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