Australia Residence by Investment Program

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Australia has offered temporary and permanent residence visas by investment for successful global business owners and investors since 1981. This article provides a useful history of the evolution and popularity of Australia’s residence by investment programs.

*** Currently, there are no direct Citizenship by Investment options to Australia.


In 1992 the Business Skills Programme (BSP) was introduced with the following visa categories:

-Business Owner (Provisional) (160)

-State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner (Provisional) (163)

-Senior Executive (Provisional) (161)

-State/Territory Sponsored Senior Executive (Provisional) (164)

-Investor (Provisional) (162)

-State/Territory Sponsored Investor (Provisional) (165)

-Business Owner (Residence) (890)

-State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner (Residence) (892)

-Investor (Residence) (891)

-State/Territory Sponsored Investor (Residence) (893)

-Business Talent (162)

The BSP was reviewed in 2003 and again in 2011.

On 1 July 2012 the BSP was replaced by the Australia’s two current Residence-by-Investment programs, namely:

1/ Two-stage to Permanent Residence 188-188 Business Innovation and Investment Programme (BIIP); and

2/ Direct to Permanent Residence 132 Business Talent Visa program.

In November 2012, the Australian Government introduced the Significant Investor Visa as a new stream within the 188-888 BIIP – giving a choice to the investor to invest $5.0m into:

-Government bonds

-Eligible managed funds; or

-New/ established private companies (including direct investment into real estate property development companies).

In 2015, the Australian Government changed the complying investment framework requiring the entire $5.0m to be invested as follows:

-$3.0m into Large ASX-listed companies (equities or bonds) or Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs)

-$1.5m into Emerging ASX-listed companies (less than $500m market cap)

-$0.5m into Private Equity funds.

Also, in 2015 the Premium Investor Visa stream was added to the 188-888 BIIP, requiring $15.0m investment.

On 10 September 2016, the Australian Government introduced the Entrepreneur visa as a new stream within the 188-888 BIIP.


The tables below show the number of 188, 888 and 132 visas (excluding the 188-888 Entrepreneur visa) lodged, granted and refused from 2012 to 31/12/2019.

In summary, the results show:

-An 80% reduction in SIV v2.0 application from 2015 onwards

-A 4x increase in the number of 132 applications from 2015 to 2019

-A substantial increase in visa refusals for 188A and 188B visas in 2018 and 2019

NOTE: The processing time can take up to 2 years. This means it is not possible to directly compare lodged and granted visa application in a year.

The Department of Home Affairs visa application processing times can vary due to:

-Submission of an incomplete visa application and with a lack of supporting evidence

-How clearly written and comprehensive the migration agent’s report is about, “How the applicant satisfies the 188/132/888 Eligibility Criteria

-The time taken by the migration agent to respond to additional questions asked by the case officer and the quality of those responses to address the specific questions being asked.

Some of the reasons for visa refusals include:

-Lack of source of funds explanation and evidence

-Client not satisfying the Key Eligibility Criteria

-False documents

Australian Citizenship

To obtain Australian Citizenship one must have lived (on a full-time basis) in Australia as either a Temporary or Permanent resident for at least 4 years with the last 12 months being as a Permanent resident.

Australian PR holders can apply for Medicare, which is Australia’s world-class publicly funded health citizen. 

Australian Citizens are granted a passport allowing visa-free access to 183 countries in the world, ranking Australia 25th in the 2020 Henley Passport Index.

Australia is a democratic system with its legal system based on English common law.

Australia recognises dual citizenship.  Therefore, there is no need to denounce citizenship in your home country if your home country also recognises dual citizenship. 

It is increasingly popular for “Global Citizens” to have 2 or 3 passports for several reasons.

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