The business investor visa (subclass 188B visa) is a provisional visa available for applicants intending to make investments in Australia. The visa allows a stay for up to four years and three months and is also a viable pathway to permanent residency. This article will provide a brief overview of the minimum requirements to lodge an application for this visa in each Australian state and territory.


To apply for the subclass 188B visa, you must first determine whether you are eligible to lodge an application. Your eligibility will depend on whether you meet the criteria for the visa (as discussed below). Once you determine your eligibility, you then need to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the Department of Home Affairs.

In your EOI, you have the choice to be nominated 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 at the time you are invited to apply for the visa. If you are successful, a state or territory will then nominate you and invite you to lodge an application for this visa.

Applicant Requirements

When a state or territory invites you to apply for the Subclass 188B, you must meet the following criteria:

  • be under 55 years of age (unless you can show that your proposed business is of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory);
  • score at least 65 on the innovation points test, which takes into account factors such as your:
    • age;
    • English competency;
    • qualifications;
    • experience;
    • turnover and assets;
  • you genuinely intend to live in the State or Territory that nominated you; and
  • have demonstrated:
    • experience in managing a business or investments; and
    • an ability to make a designated investment in Australia for at least four years.

Business and Investment Experience

At the time a state or territory government agency invites you to apply for the visa, you must have:

  • a high level of skill (and a successful record) in managing eligible investments or qualifying businesses;
  • a minimum of three years of direct involvement in the management of at least one qualifying business or eligible investment;
  • had no involvement in unacceptable business or investment activities. This includes both you and your spouse or de facto partner; and
  • in at least one out of the last five financial years, directly managed:
    • eligible investments owned by you (or your spouse or de facto partner) totalling at least AU$1.5 million; or
    • a qualifying business, where you (and spouse or de facto partner) owned at least 10% of the business’s total value.

Net Assets and Designated Investment

You must make a designated investment:

  • of at least AU$1.5 million in a government security in the State or Territory that nominates your application; and
  • using unencumbered funds accumulated from qualifying businesses or eligible investments.

You may make the investment in your name, or the names of you and your spouse/de facto partner (if applicable).

Note that you must be prepared to hold this investment for at least four years. You must also be committed to maintaining business or investment activity in Australia after this investment matures.

Additionally, during the two financial years immediately before you are invited to apply, you (or your spouse) must have personal or business assets:

  • that have been legally acquired;
  • that are available for legal transfer to Australia within two years of the date your visa is granted; and
  • with a net value of at least AU$:
    • 3 million (Sydney) or;
    • 2.25 million (all other States and Territories, including regional NSW and excluding the ACT).

Unfortunately, the ACT does not issue subclass 188B visas.

Key Differences Between States

The net assets and designated investments criteria vary slightly between some states and territories.

In Western Australia, you must be able to transfer additional funds of AU$500,000 for your settlement and ongoing living costs.

Victoria and the Northern Territory keeps the requirements broad so that each nomination can be considered individually.

The ACT does not participate in this investor stream.

Key Takeaways

A business investor visa (subclass 188B) is a provisional visa for applicants who intend to make an investment in Australia. Before submitting an EOI for this visa, you need to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria in the state for which you intend to apply. Specific requirements may vary between states and territories. These include factors such as:

  • age;
  • language;
  • business conduct;
  • business experience; and
  • net assets and designated investment.

If you have questions about a subclass 188B 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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