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This chapter is an extract from LegalVision’s 10 Things To Know Before You Bring Your Startup to Australia Guide. Download the full guide here.

Visas in Australia

There are a handful of visa options available for startup founders wanting to do business in Australia. We have summarised the key features of each visa in the table below.

Visas Key Features

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 188)

The Entrepreneur stream of this provisional visa is targeted at foreign entrepreneurs who are interested in developing or commercialising their innovations in Australia. You must:

  • have an innovative idea for a new product, service or business;
  • have third-party funding; and
  • be nominated by a state or territory government or Austrade, in conformity with the strict eligibility requirements.

This stream allows a recipient to undertake compliant entrepreneurial activity in Australia. This is activity that relates to an innovative idea that will lead to the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia, or the development of a business in Australia. However, this excludes residential real estate, labour hire or the purchase of an existing enterprise or franchise.

Recipients can travel in and out of Australia and bring family members to Australia. There is also an investor stream for people who want to make a designated investment of at least $1.5 million and maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Again, applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government.

Holding this visa is the rst step towards permanent residence in Australia via the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 888).

Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 888)

The Permanent Business Innovation and Investment Visa is the second step to apply for permanent residence. This Visa allows you to continue:

  • operating your Australian business (Business Innovation stream);
  • engaging in business and investment activity (Investor streams); or 
  • entrepreneurial activity (Entrepreneur stream).

To be eligible, you must have held the Subclass 188 Visa or Special Category Visa (Subclass 444) and be nominated by a state or territory or the Australian government.

This visa will allow you to stay, work and study in Australia indefinitely, apply for Australian citizenship (if you are eligible) and sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residency.

Business Talent (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 132)

This visa is a permanent residence visa for eligible people who have been nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency. It has two streams:

  1. the Significant Business History stream (available to high-calibre business owners); and
  2. the Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream (available to people who have sourced venture capital funding from a member of the Australian Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL)).

To be eligible for this visa, in addition to your state or territory’s nomination, you must either have:

• net business and personal assets of at least $1.5 million and an annual business turnover of at least $3 million (business history stream); or

• obtained at least $1 million in venture capital (VC) funding relating to a high-value business idea in Australia (VC entrepreneur stream).

This visa allows you to establish a new, or develop an existing, business in Australia, stay in Australia indefinitely, study in Australia and sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residency.

Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (Subclass 457) / Temporary Skill Shortage Visa

This visa is more likely to apply to foreign employees who you may wish to bring over to work in your new Australian business.

The 457 visa requires sponsorship by an approved business, and the worker must have the required skills to ll a position the approved business nominates. An approved business can be a registered foreign company, as long as it provides its registered Australian Business Number (ABN) and required documentation.

The 457 visa is soon to be abolished and replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (TSS). Although similar to the 457 Visa, it may be more dif cult to bring skilled workers over on the TSS. You should carefully check that the workers you require are on the relevant skills list.

Sponsor businesses must pay at least the Australian market salary and meet the temporary skilled migration income threshold. They must also meet a non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers. They need to show that the business meets the training requirements and workers must meet English language, age and experience requirements.

If you have questions about this Manual or about your online business before you start reading, you can contact LegalVision’s startup lawyers by calling 1300 544 755 or filling out the form on this page.

10-things-to-know-before-you-bring-your-startup-to-australiaThis chapter is an extract from LegalVision’s 10 Things To Know Before You Bring Your Startup to Australia Guide.

Download the free 31-page manual which includes information on government incentives, economic trends, geographical considerations, building a team, visas, how to protect your brand and how to set up in Australia.


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