188E Entrepreneur Visa
188E Entrepreneur Visa allows entrepreneurs who have secured funding from an approved entity to continue carrying on the start-up in Australia. 188E visa applications are heavily scrutinized, and it is important that you thoroughly and holistically prepare your application.
188E Visa Criteria
Nomination: You must be nominated by a State or Territory authority to apply for an Entrepreneur Visa with each nominating authority having their own criteria.
Invitation: You must be invited, by the Department of Home Affairs in writing, to apply for the visa.
Age: You must be under 55 years of age at the time of invitation. Exceptions may be allowed in strictly limited circumstances where the nominating State or Territory government authority determines that your start-up is of exceptional economic benefit to their State or Territory.
Competent English: You must have scored at least 6.0 in each band of the International English Language Testing System in the last three (3) years.
Complying Entrepreneur Activity: Regulation 5.19E sets an activity as a complying entrepreneur activity if all the following requirements are satisfied:
- The activity relates to an innovative idea that is proposed to lead to the commercialisation of a product of services, or the development of an enterprise of business in Australia.
- The activity does not relate to a labour hire entity, an existing entity or residential real property (IMMI 16/075).
- Funding to be provided in relation to the activity must meet a minimum threshold of $200,000 of which 10% is to be paid within twelve (12) months of the day on which the activity starts in Australia. This must be stipulated in a legally enforceable agreement.
Sufficient Funds: You must have sufficient assets, whether business or personal, to enable you to relocate to and settle in Australia.
- Be undertaking, or be proposing to undertake, a “complying entrepreneur activity.” You must have a genuine intention to undertake, and continue to undertake, the complying entrepreneur activity in Australia. This is in accordance with the funding agreement from an approved entity;
- Have at least 30% ownership interest in the entrepreneurial entity from when the relevant funding agreement was entered into.
188E Visa Lawyers
How can I be nominated and invited for 188E Visa?
You must submit an expression of interest which is reviewed by a State or Territory Government authority. If the State or Territory authority agrees to nominate you, this is communicated to the Department, who will then issue you an invitation to apply for the visa. The nomination must continue to be valid for the visa to be granted.
Each State and Territory set their own requirements for nomination, and will frequently amend these requirements in response to economic factors. As these authorities announce new criteria each financial year, it is best that you arrange a consultation with qualified migration lawyers to receive up-to-date advice.
Are there age restrictions for Entrepreneur Visa?
Generally, applicants must not have turned 55 at the time of invitation in order to qualify for the entrepreneur stream. Nevertheless, State and Territory authorities reserve the discretion to afford waiver where the applicant’s Australian business is deemed to be of significant economic benefit to said State or Territory.
The discretion of States and Territories to accept age-restricted applicants on the grounds of “exceptional economic benefit” is largely unfettered. The State and Territory authorities provide minimal guidance on when they will recommend waiver of age restrictions.
Do I need an English Test for Australian Entrepreneur Visa?
Unlike other streams of Subclass 188, the entrepreneur stream requires you to demonstrate that you possess “competent English” within the meaning of Regulation 1.15C. This requires you to either achieve a minimum score on a prescribed English test or hold a passport of a particular English-speaking country.
The English exemption exists for citizens of the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
- New Zealand
- Republic of Ireland
If undertaking an English test:
- You may score at least 6 for each of the 4 components of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); or
- Score at least 50 for each of the 4 components in the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic).
Dependent applicants do not need to evidence their English language proficiency, however, failing to do so will result in additional application fees.
Is my startup permissible for Australian Entrepreneur Visa?
If you can prove that the activity would lead to the commercialisation of a product of services, or the development of an enterprise of business in Australia, it would generally be permissible. Exceptions apply when:
- Establishing, purchasing, investing or acquiring an interest in a labour hire entity or residential real property.
- Purchasing, investing or acquiring an interest in an existing entity (including a franchise).
What is “Innovative” for 188E Entrepreneur Visa?
Determining whether an activity is innovative is a matter for the nominating entity. A broad range of business activities can be regarded as innovative, including conducting research, setting up a business. All activities must, in some way, propose to lead to business development or commercialisation of a product or service in Australia.
Talk to our 188E Entrepreneur Visa experts at Visa Plan!
Is a business plan essential for 188E Entrepreneur Visa?
It is a documentary requirement that you prepare and supply a business plan for your proposed entrepreneurial entity. In practice, the case officer will not assess it for proper formulation, but to ensure your activity is not excluded under instrument IMMI 16/075.
188E State Nomination
- You must provide a business plan or “pitch” for your entrepreneurial activities. This document may be the same document used for securing third party financing.
- Your proposed activity must provide a benefit to Victoria, which is assessed with reference to the following factors:
- The nature of the innovation involved in your proposed activities.
- Potential economic contributions of your proposed activities to Victoria.
- Whether the innovation addresses a specific need in a Victorian industry or sector
- Creation of potential employment opportunities for Victorians
- Registration of a patent, design, or trademark
- You must show that either;
- The body funding your enterprise has victorian operations, or
- Your entrepreneurial activity will be undertaken in Victoria
- You must show that you possess sufficient funds to cover the costs of your settlement in Victoria.
- You must evidence a genuine and realistic intention to reside in Victoria.
In order to transition to Subclass 888E, you must reside in Victoria for at least 2 of the last 4 years. It is also a requirement that you provide evidence of your continued commitment to reside in Victoria.
188E New South Wales
You must be undertaking your entrepreneurial activities in NSW and possess sufficient funds to settle when you relocate to the State.
Transition to Subclass 888E would require that you have established residence in NSW.
You must provide evidence that you have financial capacity to fund settlement in Queensland. In addition, you are also expected to live in Queensland.
188E Western Australia
Prospective nominees under this stream are encouraged to contact the Western Australian Government to discuss the nomination. No specific criteria is published publicly in connection with 188E.
188E South Australia
- You must undertake an exploratory visit to South Australia prior to lodging a nomination application.
- You must provide a business plan.
- You must prove that you possess sufficient funds to finance your settlement in South Australia.
- You must explain the economic benefits of your proposed activities to South Australia.
- You must provide an English test with your nomination application
For 888E permanent residency, you must also establish your primary residence and place of business in South Australia. In addition, you must have met with the relevant South Australian authority within 2 months of your arrival and maintained contact with them at least every twelve (12) months whilst holding the 188E Visa.
- You must undertake an exploratory visit to Tasmania prior to applying for nomination.
- You must show that your activity will have benefits to Tasmania.
- You must demonstrate that you possess sufficient funds to cover the costs of your settlement in Tasmania.
- You must establish the genuineness of your intention to live in Tasmania
Benefit to Tasmania
When assessing whether a proposed activity will benefit Tasmania, you would be assessed on:
- Investment in Tasmania but outside the greater Hobart metropolitan area.
- Generation or retention of jobs for local Tasmanians.
- Investment in one of the below key sectors:
- Aquaculture, Agriculture and Agribusiness
- Minerals and Mining
- Forestry and Timber
- Antarctic and Marine Science
- Information and Communication Technology
- Creative Industry
- Community Infrastructures that enhance a region’s liveability
- Renewable Energy
- Bio Renewal and waste recycling
- Food production
- Generation of flow-on opportunities for other sectors of the Tasmanian economy.
- Partnership with a Tasmanian business partner who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- Expansion of trade in Tasmainian goods and services.
- Development of export markets for Tasmanian products or replacement of imports.
- Transfer of new capital investment.
- Introduction of new skills, expertise, technology or innovation to Tasmania.
- Contributions to environmental sustainability.
188E Northern Territory
The Northern Territory does not impose any criteria specific to the Entrepreneur Stream, but rather maintains fairly broad guidelines for Subclass 188 generally. You would be assessed in light of:
- Your ability to make economic contributions to Northern Territory.
- Benefits to the Northern Territory with your proposed activities.
- Your capacity to deliver on said proposed activities.
188E Entrepreneur Visa Fees
- Base application charge: $4,045
- Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $2,025
- Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $1,010
Second installment, if the functional English cannot scored by the applicants
- Primary applicant without functional English: $9,795
- Secondary applicants who do not demonstrate functional English: $4,890
- Other applicants: Nill
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