Business Visas


Business visas have had a checkered history in Australia, other developed countries have had similar experiences Canada having suspended its business visa program[1] in 2014.

At one stage in the 1980’s Australia suspended its program and the ACT has totally withdrawn from designated investment participation because of integrity concerns.

There are a lot of ‘tyre kickers’ in business visas and the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) visa have led to a host of ‘financial advisers’ doing the rounds of migration agents marketing their wares. A lot of time can be wasted on prospects which will not mature into actual business.

With applicants from developing or emerging economies, the key issue is proof of the lawful acquisition of assets, accuracy of accounts and business records and even genuine proof of ownership.

Business visas have never been more than an ancillary part of Australia’s migration program.

There is a periodic tightening up of the business visa criteria, the last big change happened on 1 July 2012. Prior to that the business visa program was not regarded as a great success by the government. An Immigration discussion paper entitled, ‘Review of the Business Skills Visa Program’ dated 24 December 2010 observed (at page 7) :

The composition of businesses operating throughout the provisional stage shows that restaurants and take away shops comprise the largest proportion with 27.1 per cent of all recorded businesses. Wine exports make up 9.3 per cent and convenience stores 7.7 per cent. The character of the program is that it is producing small food and retail outlets.

Barbara Davidson