Significant investor visas facing significant backlog

Publish Date: Sep 26, 2014

The interest in Australia's significant investor visa programme is outstripping the number of individuals applying for the programme, leading many experts to call for a review of this process to clear the immigration backlog.

The significant investor visa programme has currently been in place for 18 months and offers visas to those with significant resources who want to invest in Australia.

Following an expression of interest, a state or territory needs to nominate an individual before they can progress to applying for the visa.

Potential migrants have to meet a number of different requirements before they can receive this visa. On top of the requirement that they be nominated by a state, individuals need to invest $5 million into a number of approved investments for a minimum of four years.

To date, this requirement has brought nearly $2 billion into Australia from investors looking to make the most of this opportunity.

Once accepted, it is possible to stay in Australia for eight years, thanks to the option of applying for two provisional visas to extend an individual's stay in the country. Family members brought into Australia as part of this visa programme will also have no restrictions placed on their ability to work or study in the country.

According to the most recent statistics from the Department of Immigration, 386 of these visas have currently been granted, out of 1,650 total expressions of interest. Of the visas that have been granted, nearly 350 have been for Victoria and New South Wales, making them by far the most popular destinations for wealthy immigrants.

Of these, the vast majority have come from east and south-east Asia. Nearly 88 per cent of the visas that have been granted have gone to mainland Chinese investors. Individuals from Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia have also taken spots in the top five.

The Australian government has stated that it wishes to improve the application process that these visas pass through. These changes will likely be announced in November 2014. 

Investors who want to enter Australia on a significant investor visa have been advised to seek local support before registering an expression of interest in this process.

An immigration lawyer can help to ensure that your application is processed in a timely manner and that this process runs smoothly. It is also possible to assign another person to oversee an investment into Australia, increasing the need to have local legal advice.

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