The Australian Government is piloting a new entrepreneurship visa in South Australia (SA), before a national rollout in 2019. The new visa aims to encourage entrepreneurs to apply for a temporary visa to build their venture in Australia. The Federal Government also plans to prioritise applications from those wishing to invest in existing SA enterprises in key growth areas, such as advanced manufacturing and defence technology. This article explains the details of the new entrepreneur visa pilot in South Australia and the eligibility requirements.

Differences Between the Old and New Entrepreneur Visa

According to the SA Premier, Steven Marshall, the new entrepreneur visa intends to:

  • increase entrepreneurial talent;
  • diversify business expertise; and
  • create more jobs for South Australians.

The arrangement allows entrepreneurs to eventually apply for a permanent residency in South Australia. They can then simultaneously develop their business plans into successful enterprises, creating new companies and jobs for South Australians.

The new visa no longer requires entrepreneurs to have a capital backing of at least $200,000. StartUpAus Chief Operating Officer, Alex Gruszka has praised the new initiative because:

“removing the onerous funding requirement creates a much more realistic chance of attracting entrepreneurs to start a business in Australia and create local opportunities.”

The new entrepreneur visa also only requires applicants to demonstrate vocational English. Vocational English is a band five out of nine in each of the four components of the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS). In contrast, the previous English requirement for the old entrepreneur visa was six out of nine. The changes aim to make the entrepreneurial investment in SA more appealing for overseas innovators.

Applying for the New Entrepreneur Visa

Applicants to the new entrepreneur visa stream have to present their ideas and business plan to the relevant SA government or Federal Government entity for vetting. The Government will nominate an applicant to take forward with an innovative idea with a supporting business plan. Nominators can partner with incubators and accelerators to identify potential applicants for the nomination, which would foster a startup hub in SA.

Visa Requirements an Applicant Needs to Meet

In addition to the usual Australian work visa requirements of health, character and security checks, for the new entrepreneur visa, the applicant must also:

  • demonstrate their business plan;
  • be under the age of 45; and
  • meet the vocational level English threshold.

The Government has not yet released any other preliminary thresholds for the new entrepreneur visa.

Features of the Visa

Applicants who are successful at starting their business in Australia will be eligible to apply for permanent residency. The Australian Government has not released additional requirements regarding what the new startup business must achieve before they are eligible for the permanent resident visa. Nor have they released the time period before being allowed to apply for permanent residency.

Key Takeaways

The new entrepreneur visa allows entrepreneurs to start and build their business in SA. In doing so, the visa enables entrepreneurs to contribute to the SA industry and creates jobs for Australians. If successful in setting up the business, the visa will allow the entrepreneur to apply for permanent residency if they wish to continue operations in SA. There are plans for the new entrepreneur visa to be rolled out nationally in 2019.

If you have any questions or need assistance determining your eligibility for the new entrepreneur visa, get in touch with LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Allison Hendriks
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