888 Business and Investment Visa

Subclass 888 visa is the second stage of the permanent residency process for business and investor applicants holding Subclass 188 visas, or people in the special category holding Subclass 444 visas. For successful transition to Subclass 888, there are a number of additional prerequisites that need to be satisfied.

Streams of Subclass 888

For application by a holder of a Subclass 188 visa, Subclass 888 is divided into 4 streams which mirror the streams available under Subclass 188. Such streams consist of the following:

  • Business Innovation
  • Investor
  • Significant Investor
  • Premium Investor
  • Entrepreneur

Applicants must apply for Subclass 888 under the stream which corresponds to their Subclass 188 provisional visa. 

Note that as of 1 July 2021, the Premium Investor stream is no longer available to new applicants.

888A: Business Innovation Stream

Eligible Visas

The primary applicant must hold a Subclass 188A in the Business Innovation Stream or a Subclass 444 visa in order to apply for a Subclass 888 visa.

Presence in Australia

The primary applicant has been present in Australia as a holder of the eligible provisional visa for a period of at least 1 year in aggregate in the 2 years immediately prior to the application being lodged. Failure to have maintained presence in Australia for this duration will result in ineligibility. 

Ownership Interest

The primary applicant has, and continues to have ownership interest in at least one actively operating business in Australia in the 2 years immediately prior to the application. The requisite ownership is equal to or more than:

  • 51% – when the annual turnover of a business is less than $400,000, or
  • 30% – when the annual turnover of a business is more than $400,000, or
  • 10% – when the business is a publicly listed company on an Australian securities exchange.

Business Acquisition

There is an additional stipulation to meet if the main business is bought from from a person who has applied for or held:

  • a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa; or
  • a permanent business skills visa (in subclasses 890, 891, 892 or 893)

At the time of the acquisition, the primary applicant, who is also the buyer, must show that ownership of the business has been shared with the seller for at least 1 year prior to the current application.

This is intended to prevent successive business visa applicants recycling a single Australian business in order to achieve permanent residency. Prior to the purchase of an Australian business, it is therefore crucial for applicants to verify that the seller is not a business visa holder or applicant themselves.

Active Business Management

The primary applicant must submit the main business’ Australian Business Number and Business Activity Statements that have been lodged to the Australian Taxation Office for 2 years prior to the application.

In addition, the primary applicant must show that he or she has had a direct and continuous management role in the business or businesses.

Business Turnover

The main business has an accumulated value of $300,000 in turnover in the last 12 months prior to the application. A nominating State or Territory authority reserves discretionary power to waive this requirement. Turnover is defined as the revenue generated in the ordinary course of business activities, including:

  • Sale of goods
  • Fees for service
  • Commission revenue
  • Interest
  • Capital gains
  • Government subsidies or bounties

Business Criteria – “2 out of 3” Requirements

Although the nominating State or Territory authority may exercise discretion in waiving business criteria, in most cases the primary applicant needs to satisfy at least 2 out of the following 3 criteria:

  • Personal Assets in the Business: The assets owned by the applicant, the applicant’s spouse or de facto partner, or the applicant and his or her spouse or de facto partner together, in the main business or main businesses in Australia had a net value of at least $200,000. This applies to the period of the 12 months immediately before the application was made, and assets continue to have this net value.
  • Australian Employees: The main business in Australia, or main businesses in Australia, of the applicant, the applicant’s spouse or de facto partner, or the applicant and his or her spouse or de facto partner together provided employment in Australia to 2 or more employees. Their employment was for a total number of hours that was at least the total number of hours that would have been worked by 2 full time employees.
  • Net Personal and Business Assets: The business and personal assets of the applicant, the applicant’s spouse or de facto partner, or the applicant and his or her spouse or de facto partner together, had a net value of at least $600,000. This applies to the 12 month period ending immediately before the application was made and said assets continue to have this net value.

Business Practices

The primary applicant has no history of unacceptable business activities.

Business Endeavour

The primary applicant must have a genuine and realistic commitment to continue business or investment activities in Australia.

Lawful Acquisition of Assets

Assets must have been lawfully acquired, which must be proven with evidence as part of the application.

Do I Need to Live in Australia?

When applying for Subclass 188A, you must show that there is a need for you to reside in Australia to establish or conduct your proposed business activities on a day-to-day basis. This requirement necessitates a substantial presence in Australia, and therefore, businesses which do not require your presence in Australia, such as internet trading or brokering products between foreign countries, may be regarded as grounds for refusal under this stream.

Further, when transitioning from Subclass 188A to Subclass 888A, you may be required to meet certain residency requirements. If you do not plan to live in Australia, it is critical that you receive expert advice to ensure you do not jeopardise your future permanent residency application down the line.

888B: Investor Stream

Requisite Period

The primary applicant must have held a Subclass 188B – Investor Stream for at least 4 years.

Presence in Australia

The primary applicant has been present in Australia as a holder of a Subclass 188B visa for an aggregate period of 2 years within the last 4 years. Failure to have maintained presence in Australia for this duration will result in ineligibility.

“Designated Investment”

The term, designated investment, refers to an investment in a security issued by an Australian State or Territory government authority, as the requisite part of the previous application for the provisional 188B visa, with a minimum sum of $1.5 million.

Duration of the Investment

The designated investment must have been held for at least 4 years.

Business Practices

The primary applicant has no history of unacceptable business activities.

Business Endeavour

The primary applicant must have a genuine and realistic commitment to continue business or investment activities in Australia.

888C: Significant Investor Stream

Requisite Period

The primary applicant must have held a Subclass 188C – Significant Investor Stream for at least 4 years.

Presence in Australia

The primary applicant has been present in Australia as a holder of a Subclass 188C visa for a cumulative 180 days per year, for the last 4 years preceding the application.

“Complying Significant Investment”

In accordance with Migration (IMMI 15/100: Complying Investments) Instrument 2015, the term, complying significant investment, refers to a series of investments in a sum over $5 million which include:

  • Total of at least $500,000 invested, or to be invested, in one or more venture capital funds; and
  • Total of at least $1.5 million in emerging companies investments. 

If any part of the investment is or was a direct investment in an Australian proprietary company,

  • The company must have been a qualifying business for the whole period if the period of the direct investment was less than 2 years; or
  • The company must have been a qualifying business for at least 2 years if the period of the direct investment was 2 years or more; or
  • If the company has been unable to operate as a qualifying business, a genuine attempt must have been made to operate the business as a qualifying business.

Duration of the Investment

The complying significant investment must have been held for the whole period during which the Subclass 188C visa has been held – continuously over the 4 years.

Business Practices

The primary applicant has no history of unacceptable business activities.

Business Endeavour

The primary applicant must have a genuine and realistic commitment to continue business or investment activities in Australia.

888D: Premium Investor Stream

Requisite Period

The primary applicant must have held a Subclass 188D – Premium Investor Stream for at least 1 year.

Presence in Australia

No residence requirement.

“Complying Premium Investment”

For the purpose of complying premium investment, the investment of a minimum sum of $15 million must have been made in the complying sections for the grant of a Subclass 188D visa. The complying sections include:

  • Securities quoted on an Australian securities exchange;
  • Australian Government or Semi-Government bonds or notes;
  • Corporate bonds or notes issued by a company quoted on an Australian securities exchange (or wholly owned subsidiary of a company quoted an Australian securities exchange), investment-grade Australian corporate bonds or notes rated by an AFS licenced debt rating agency;
  • Australian proprietary limited companies operated to make a profit by providing goods or services to the public. In other words, not as a passive or speculative investment, (such as a landlord of residential property, gambling, share trading, or holding property for capital gain);
  • Real property in Australia, excluding residential property;
  • Deferred annuities issued by Australian registered life companies;
  • State or Territory Government approved philanthropic contributions.

To be an eligible fund, a further requirement is that cash is to be no more than 20% of a fund’s net assets and derivatives are to be used for risk management purposes only.

Duration of the Investment

The complying premium investment must have been held for a continuous period of 12 months.

Business Practices

The primary applicant has no history of unacceptable business activities.

Business Endeavour

The primary applicant must have a genuine and realistic commitment to continue business or investment activities in Australia.

888E: Entrepreneur Stream

Requisite Period

The primary applicant must have held a Subclass 188E – Entrepreneur Stream for a continuous period of at least 4 years immediately before the application is submitted.

Presence in Australia

The primary applicant has been present in Australia as a holder of a Subclass 188E visa for at least 2 years of the last 4 years preceding the application.

Successful Record of Entrepreneurial Activities

For the grant of a Subclass 888E visa, the primary applicant needs to satisfy either:

  • 2 key success factors; or
  • 1 key success factor and 3 supporting success factors.

Key success factors include:

  • Employing 2 or more Australians, permanent residents or other eligible persons;
  • Generating an annual turnover of at least $300,000;
  • Filing a provisional patent or acquiring a standard or innovation patent;
  • Receiving ongoing funding or investment in the entrepreneurial activities being pursued;
  • Entering into a partnership with a university;
  • Selling an entrepreneurial venture for $2 million.

Supporting success factors include:

  • Adapting the entrepreneurial activities into other business areas;
  • Receiving a statement of success from a State or Territory Government nominator;
  • Receiving sponsorship from the corporate sector;
  • Starting at least 1 other business or contributing to at least 2 other businesses;
  • Receiving formal awards or recognition;
  • Raising or contributing to social capital.

Under Australian migration law, entrepreneurial activities do not include:

  • Residential real estate;
  • Labour hire;
  • Buying an existing enterprise or a franchise in Australia.

Business Practices

The primary applicant has no history of unacceptable business activities.

Business Endeavour

The primary applicant must have a genuine and realistic commitment to continue business or investment activities in Australia.

Success is determined with reference to the following factors;

  • Number of Australian citizens or permanent residents employed through the activities;
  • Level and nature of ongoing funding or investment in the activities;
  • Annual turnover (revenue) of businesses in relation to the activities.

Application Charges

  • Primary applicant: $2,590
  • Secondary applicant 18 years old and over: $1,300
  • Secondary applicant under 18 years old: $645 

*Applicants who cannot demonstrate functional English may attract an additional charge, provided a comparable charge has not been paid previously in relation to a subclass 188 visa.

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