Significant Investor Visa 188/888

Since the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP announced the opening of the Significant Investor visa in November 2012 it has been discussed amongst business circles and signs to date are that this new stream has been received with very positive remarks.

Whilst Ferguson Cannon Lawyers assists with Business and Investor visa applications for the subclass 188 covering all states and territories the following is an overview of the requirements for a Significant Investor Stream visa for Queensland.

If you wish to reside in Queensland then you are required to be nominated by the Queensland Government through the Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) and invest your $5million complying investments into complying investments that have a direct economic benefit to Queensland.

DETE advise;

Queensland welcomes business investment and offers a range of business advantages including a stable economy, supportive government, and a solid growth forecast. Queensland’s low operating costs, highly skilled workforce and strategic Asia-Pacific location create an attractive investment destination. Queensland business owners and investors enjoy:

  • a dynamic, innovative and stable economy with the most competitive payroll tax regime in Australia, including tax breaks for employers of apprentices and trainees
  • a highly skilled workforce in strong, diverse industries
  • an idyllic lifestyle

All state and territories have different requirements to be met and with approval from DIAC can decide which prospective applicants to nominate. DETE advise they assess applications against the following criteria;

Queensland eligibility criteria:

  1. To be eligible to apply for Queensland Government nomination, you must meet DIAC eligibility requirements
  2. Preference will be given to applicants with investments that have a direct economic benefit to Queensland. Applicants will be considered on a case by case basis.
  3. In order to receive nomination from the Queensland Government it is expected that you have a genuine and realistic commitment to reside in Queensland in order to meet the DIAC residency requirements.

Ferguson Cannon Lawyers has a wealth of experience with 188 visas and working with DETE to the benefit of our clients. The main question we are receiving from prospective investors is around the complying investments and what will meet policy. We can advise that investments that will automatically meet the complying investment criteria are; Queensland Treasury Corporation’s Queensland Bonds which are used for significant infrastructure projects in Queensland.

Any investment into a business must be registered and operating in Queensland and must be a ‘qualifying business’, whereby it is operated for the purpose of making profit through the provision of goods, services or goods and services to the public and is not operated primarily or substantially for the purpose of speculative or passive investment. Complications can occur where a business is operated nationally in other states and territories and the actual benefit to Queensland may be not clear. Ferguson Cannon Lawyers can work with applicants and Australian business to make sure that appropriate evidence is provided to show a clear economic benefit to Queensland can be demonstrated.

Any investment into a managed fund that meets compliance with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship requirements can be considered. You will be required to demonstrate how the managed fund demonstrates direct economic benefit, including investment, into Queensland. Ferguson Cannon Lawyers cannot provide advice on which managed funds to invest in but can refer you to different registered independent financial advisers who can provide further guidance.

It is important to note that DETE provide the following warnings;

  • The Queensland Government will not allow you to transfer your nomination to another State or Territory.
  • Please be advised that applying for nomination correctly does not guarantee success. Nomination is granted at the discretion of the Queensland Government. Queensland Government sponsorship is subject to nomination planning levels as allocated by DIAC
  • It is recommended that you seek your own professional legal and financial advice before investing. The Queensland Government will not take a role in your investment decision nor will it provide financial advice or guarantee any return on your complying investment.
  • The Queensland Government may nominate an applicant for a visa, however the final decision and timeframe on the granting of the visa is made by DIAC. The Queensland Government takes no responsibility in the event that your visa application is rejected by DIAC.

Recently the Department of Immigration and Citizenship approved the first 188 Significant Investor visa sponsored by Victoria who is a Chinese toy manufacturer and currently has received over a further 170 applications.

FC Lawyers has nearly 30 clients at different stages of the visa process going through the 188 visa. The current processing time for QLD to process 188 nominations is around 6-8 weeks.

FC Lawyers is currently working with financial institutions who are offering investment options that meet the definition of complying investments and offer direct economic benefit to Queensland. If you are interested in the 188 Significant Investor Visa and wish to discuss your options then please email or call our migration team to learn more about how we can assist.

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