If you operate a successful business in your home country, you may have options to establish a new business or expand your existing business within Australia. If you want to live and work in Australia, you will require a working visa. In this article, we will look at some of the visa options available to you if you want to run your own business in Australia.

Do I Qualify For a Business Visa?

The business innovation and investment visa (subclass 188A – business innovation stream) is common for people who want to establish a business in Australia. You will likely qualify for this visa if you have a demonstrated track record of owning and managing businesses and have significant personal assets.

To receive this visa, you must be nominated by an Australian state or territory. To go about this, you must:

  1. submit an expression of interest to the Department of Home Affairs;
  2. apply to the relevant state or territory government agency for visa nomination; and
  3. receive an invitation to apply for the business innovation and investment visa.

Skill and Character Requirements

To be eligible for this visa, you must be under 55 years old (however, some age exemptions may apply) and score at least 65 on the points test. The points test is a standard test for visa applicants. It allocates points for skills that you would bring to Australia, such as;

  • years of work experience in Australia and internationally;
  • English language proficiency;
  • professional qualifications;
  • business management; and
  • investment experience.

Financial Requirements

To be eligible for the business innovation and investment visa, you will need to demonstrate that you have substantial business and personal income. To show this, you must have the following characteristics;

  • both you and your spouse or de facto partner have at least $800,000 AUD in combined assets;
  • your foreign business had a turnover of at least $500,000 AUD for two out of four years immediately preceding your application; and
  • you own at least 10-51% of your foreign business and plan to hold a stake of your Australian business. The minimum ownership you must have will vary depending on the size and annual turnover of the business, as well as whether the business is private or publicly listed.

For many business owners, the financial requirements of the business innovation and investment visa are too extensive. If this is true for you, you may need to consider other visa options to be able to bring your business to Australia.

Do I Qualify for Any Other Working Visas?

For most skilled individuals who wish to live and work in Australia, the two most common visa options are an employer-sponsored visa or a points-tested skilled working visa.

If you are granted an employer-sponsored visa such as a temporary skills shortage visa (TSS visa), you will only be allowed to work in the occupation that your sponsoring employer nominated. It is not possible to nominate yourself for a position in your own business. Further, a family member or friend cannot nominate you for a position in their business.

If an employer-sponsored visa does not work for you, you may need to apply for a points-tested working visa. If you are granted a points-tested working visa, you will likely be able to conduct your own business as long as you stick to the conditions of your visa.

The application process for obtaining a points-tested visa can take up to one year. To apply for a points-tested working visa, you must:

1. Check That Your Occupation Qualifies

Your occupation must be listed on the combined skilled occupation list. This is a list of occupations that are currently in demand in Australia. Your occupation will determine which visa (and which stream of that visa) you are eligible to apply for.

Furthermore, this occupation must be on the priority occupation list for the specific state or territory you intend to migrate to.

2. Submit an Expression of Interest

You will need to submit an expression of interest for the visa to the Department of Home Affairs. On your expression of interest, you must include your points test score. This score must be at least 65 for visa subclass 190 and 70 points for visa subclass 189. Different occupations and different locations will have different points thresholds.

For example, if your nominated occupation is common and you want to live in Sydney, your points score will need to be higher than if you have an uncommon occupation and you want to live in a less popular destination.

3. Invitation to Apply

The Department of Home Affairs will consider your expression of interest. This process can take several months. If successful, the department will invite you to apply for an independent working visa. You must satisfy the specific requirements for that visa. In all visa applications, the Department of Home Affairs considers your health and character as of particular importance.

Types of Points-Tested Working Visas

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)

The skilled independent visa is a permanent independent working visa that allows you to work and live freely in Australia. Under this visa, you will generally not be restricted in any way on your right to work.

To apply for this visa, you must have at least 70 points. In high demand occupations, the points threshold is 75-85.

Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)

This visa is also a permanent visa. It is very similar to the skilled independent visa but requires that your application is endorsed by the state or territory that you will reside in. Under this visa, you must receive state or territory nomination at your expression of interest stage. This nomination carries an extra 5 points for your application. If you are granted a skilled nominated visa, you must reside in the sponsor state for the first two years that you are in Australia.

Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 489)

The skilled regional (provisional) visa is a temporary visa that requires you to live in a regional area or an area with low population growth in Australia for up to four years. Like the skilled nominated visa, this visa requires sponsorship by the state or territory government where you will reside. Once you have been living in the specified regional area for at least two years, you may be eligible to apply for the permanent skilled regional visa (subclass 887).

Are There Any Other Visas That Might Apply to Me?

Sometimes, you might not have the necessary points to apply for an independent working visa or the assets to apply for a business visa. If so, there may still be other options for you to live in Australia and run your own business.

A family visa (such as a partner visa) generally carries no working restrictions. This kind of visa could be a good option if you are in a genuine, committed relationship with an Australian citizen.

Key Takeaways

If you wish to run your own business in Australia, there are several visa options available. The business innovation and investment visa is a good choice if your business and personal earnings meet the income threshold. If your finances don’t meet this threshold, applying for a points-tested visa may be your best option. However, if you are still having trouble finding the right visa for you, a family visa can allow you to flexibility to run your business. If you have any questions about migrating to Australia, contact LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.
Blythe Dingwall

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