The business innovation and investment (permanent) visa (subclass 888) allows individuals to continue their business or investment activity in Australia and live here permanently. Importantly, to be eligible to apply for the permanent visa you must have first fulfilled the requirements of the provisional subclass 188 visa through either the: 

  • business innovation stream; or 
  • investment stream.

This article will discuss the essential eligibility requirements for the subclass 888 visa.

Basic Requirements for Subclass 888 Visa

The subclass 888 visa allows holders of the temporary subclass 188 visa to live and stay in Australia permanently. Accordingly, you will need to meet certain criteria to qualify for this permanent visa, including that you:

  • hold a subclass 188 visa in the business innovation, investment, or entrepreneur streams;
  • have fulfilled the requirements of that visa (including the specific requirements for the stream in which you applied); and
  • have a current nomination from a state or territory government agency or Austrade.

Similar to the subclass 188 visa, the subclass 888 visa has different streams in which you can apply, including:

  • business innovation;
  • investor;
  • significant investor;
  • premium investor; and
  • entrepreneur.

You should select the same stream as your subclass 188 visa. The sections below discuss the key criteria for each stream.

Business Innovation Stream

This stream is for those who currently hold a subclass 188 visa in the: 

  • business innovation stream; or
  • business innovation extension stream. 

The subclass 888 visa allows previous 188 visa holders to continue their business activities started under this visa. In general, you must demonstrate that you have had ongoing involvement with your business or businesses before you apply for this visa.

The table below outlines the key requirements to qualify for this stream.

Criteria
Details
Ownership and management of a business in Australia
For the two years before your application, you must have:

  • had, and continue to have, an ownership interest in up to two main businesses in Australia;
  • had a direct and continuous management role in that business(es);
  • submitted Business Activity Statements to the Australian Taxation Office; and
  • an Australian Business Number for each of your main businesses.

In addition, for the two years before your application, you must own at least:

  • 51% of the total value of a business with a turnover of less than $400,000 AUD per year;
  • 30% of the total value of a business with a turnover of $400,000 AUD or more per year; or
  • 10% of the total value of a business that is operated by a publicly listed company.
Annual turnover

For the 12 months before your application, you must demonstrate that your main business(es) had an annual turnover of at least $300,000 AUD.

However, this may not apply if the nominating state or territory government agency has determined there are exceptional circumstances.

Assets and employees requirement
For the 12 months before your application, you or your partner (or you and your partner together) must show at least two of the following:

  • assets of $200,000 AUD net value in your main business (or two main businesses) in Australia;
  • personal and business assets in Australia of $600,000 AUD net value;
  • the equivalent of at least two full-time eligible employees in your main business.

You may not need to meet this requirement if the nominating state or territory government agency determines there are exceptional circumstances.

Residence requirement
You must have lived in Australia for at least one of the two years before your application as a holder of the: 

  • subclass 188 visa; or 
  • another eligible visa.

Investor, Significant Investor, and Premium Investor Streams

If you hold a subclass 188 visa under one of the investor streams, the subclass 888 visa allows you to continue your investment activities in Australia permanently. Generally, you must hold a subclass 188 visa in the same stream to be eligible. 

For example, you must have a subclass 188 visa in the investor stream to apply for a subclass 888 visa in the investor stream, and so on.

The main difference between the three investor streams is the amount of investment and duration of residency required, as highlighted in the table below.

Stream
Investment Requirements
Residence Requirements
Investor

When you applied for your subclass 188 visa, you invested $1.5 million AUD in an Australian state or territory (“designated investment”).

You must show that you have held your designated investment for at least four years (for subclass 188 applications made on or after 1 July 2015).

You must have lived in Australia for at least two of the four years before your application.
Significant Investor

When you applied for your subclass 188 visa, you invested $5 million AUD in a “complying significant investment” (for subclass 188 applications made on or after 1 July 2015).

To qualify for this visa, you must show that you have held your complying significant investment for the entire period you held your subclass 188 visa.

Generally, you must have lived in Australia for at least 160 days for the last four years, unless you have received extensions.
Premium Investor

When you applied for your subclass 188 visa, you invested $15 million AUD in a “complying premium investment”.

To qualify for this visa, you must have:

  • at the time of application, held a subclass 188 visa in the premium investor stream for a continuous period of at least 12 months; and
  • held the complying premium investment for the entire period you held your subclass 188 visa.
None.

Entrepreneur Stream

This stream allows you to continue your entrepreneurial activities started under your subclass 188 visa in the entrepreneur stream.

In addition to having a current nomination, you must have a successful record of undertaking entrepreneurial activities in Australia by demonstrating several “success factors”, which you can see on the Department of Home Affairs website.

One of the key success factors is, for example, generating an annual turnover of $300,000 AUD.

You must also ensure that you have resided in Australia for at least two of the four years that you have held the subclass 188 visa.

Additional Requirements

There will be additional requirements from the relevant State or Territory Government or Austrade nomination. 

The above criteria are not exhaustive and there are additional requirements to qualify for the subclass 888 visa, including the common requirements relating to:

  • English language skills;
  • health; and 
  • character.

Further, you must show a genuine commitment to continue and maintain your business or investment activities in Australia.

Key Takeaways

Once you have fulfilled the requirements of the temporary subclass 188 visa, you may be eligible to apply for the subclass 888 permanent visa. This visa allows you to continue your business or investment activities and live permanently in Australia. To qualify for the subclass 888 visa, you must ensure that you meet the requirements of one of the eligible streams. If you require advice or assistance with applying for the subclass 888 visa, contact LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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