There are several business visas that provide an opportunity for foreign citizens to gain permanent residency status in Australia. An Australian permanent resident is the name given to a non-citizen who is the holder of a permanent visa. They can live, work and study without restriction in Australia. There are three main ways to become a permanent resident in Australia:

  1. business migration;
  2. skilled migration; and
  3. family migration.

In this article, we look at the steps involved in becoming a permanent resident through business migration.

Step 1: Choose the Right Visa

There are two main visas available for business migration to Australia:

  1. the business innovation and investment visa; and
  2. the business talent visa.

The Provisional (Subclass 188) and Permanent (Subclass 888) Business Innovation Visa

If you have business skills and want to set up or manage a new or existing business in Australia, you may be interested in the business innovation and investment visas.

These are available as provisional or permanent visas. Provisional visas are valid for four years and are a first step towards getting the permanent visa.

Provisional Visa

There are three streams to the provisional visa:

  1. the business innovation stream (which allows you to own and manage a business in Australia);
  2. the investor stream (which allows you to conduct business and investment activity in Australia); and
  3. the entrepreneur stream (which allows you to undertake entrepreneurial activity in Australia).

Further, there are three subclasses to the investor stream which require you to be able to invest a minimum of:

  • $1.5 million (investor stream);
  • $5 million (significant investor stream); or
  • $15 million (premium investor stream).

Tip: Ultimately, business innovation stream visa holders can apply to become a permanent resident after two years, and investors after four years. However, under the premium investor stream, you can apply after one year.


Permanent Visa

You must hold a provisional visa before applying for the permanent visa subclass. The permanent visa will allow you to continue your business operations in Australia including:

  • the management of your business;
  • your investment activity; or
  • your entrepreneurial activity.

The Business Talent Visa (Subclass 132)

To be eligible for a permanent business talent visa, you must meet one of two sets of criteria:

Set 1

Set 2

Own or partly own an overseas business.



Have obtained at least $1 million in venture capital funding from a member of the Australian Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL).
Have a net business and personal asset worth of at least $1.5 million. Purpose of obtaining funding is to develop a high-value business idea.
Have an annual business turnover of at least $3 million for two of the four years before you apply.


Step 2: Meet the Visa Requirements

Different visas have different requirements. Therefore, make sure you are aware of what you need to do for a successful application. For example, we mentioned before that the business innovation visa (significant investor stream) requires an investment of $5 million into Australia.

Additionally, some visas may also require you have:

  • a sponsor;
  • a relative in Australia; or
  • certain work skills.

Generally, those wishing to apply for permanent residency also have to meet strict health, character and security requirements.  

Step 3: Apply

Once you have chosen the visa that is right for your circumstances and have checked the eligibility requirements, you can apply for permanent residency on the Department of Home Affairs’ website. However, you must first submit an expression of interest to the relevant state or territory government through the Department of Home Affairs’ SkillSelect online service.

Additionally, if you are selected to proceed with your application, you will need to meet further requirements and provide supporting documents.

Key Takeaways

There are two main ways to become a permanent resident through business migration:

  1. the provisional business innovation visa (subclass 188); or
  2. the business talent visa (subclass 132).

Both visas have different sub-categories of eligibility based on your business or the amount of investment. If you would like assistance with business migration, contact LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Allison Hendriks
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