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Concessions to Business Innovation and Investment Program applicants

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The Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) has indicate it will grant concessions to applications who were granted a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) before 1 July 2019, and who wish to apply for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888).

The concessions relate to:

  • application requirements
  • visa criteria requiring specified periods of residence
  • specified levels of business and investment activity

The impact of COVID-19 has been significant for many business owners and these concessions will assist in combating the many stressful issues faced by subclass 188 visa holders (and former visa holders) and subclass 888 applicants.

However, it should be noted that any applicant granted a subclass 188 visa on or after 1 July 2019 will not eligible for these concessions. The reasons the DOHA  for this is that it is to ensure the concessions focus on those who have already established their commitment to Australia and applicants who have been granted on or after 1 July 2019 have a longer time available on their pathway to permanent residence to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similarly, the amendments made for a subclass 888 visa apply in relation to a valid visa application made on or after 19 September 2020.

Some examples of the concessions are:

  • allowing applications for a Subclass 888 visa to be made by a former Subclass 188 visa holder whose visa ceased during a concession period when travel was restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • ensure that holders and former holders of a Subclass 188 visa who are not able to meet the requirements to hold a visa, or not able to meet the Australian residency requirements for a Subclass 888 visa, as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions, are still able to apply for and be granted the visa if certain requirements are met;
  • allow former holders of a Subclass 188 visa in the Business Innovation stream, who held the visa during a concession period, to apply for a Subclass 188 visa in the Business Innovation Extension stream, and to allow Subclass 188 visa holders and former holders affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions to apply for up to two Subclass 188 visas in the Business Innovation Extension stream (previously only one visa extension in that stream is available);
  • modify the investment requirements for applicants for a Subclass 888 visa in the Investor stream who hold or held a Subclass 188 visa granted before 1 July 2019, so that investments can be withdrawn or cancelled during a concession period where the holder of a Subclass 188 visa in the Investor stream has met the requirement to live in Australia for two years;
  • modify the investment requirements for applicants for a Subclass 888 visa in the Significant Investor stream who hold or held a Subclass 188 visa granted before 1 July 2019, so that they are able to withdraw or cancel their balancing investment component during a concession period, while maintaining their investment component in venture capital and emerging companies;
  • as a consequential amendment, amend the primary criteria for the Subclass 188 visa in the Significant Investor Extension stream so that applicants who first held a Subclass 188 visa granted before 1 July 2019 are not prevented from accessing the visa if they have withdrawn or cancelled investments in accordance with the concession above; and
  • ensure that visa holders whose visa is subject to a condition requiring them to hold an investment throughout the visa period are still able to comply with the condition after withdrawing or cancelling investments under the new arrangements.

Details of these concessions can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.

We can assist and business owners and investors through these issues and have assisted many business owners and investors with their visas.

Contact our experienced team to discuss your visa requirements.

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