Significant and Premium Investor Visa Programmes

Austrade's role

The Prime Minister announced in October 2014 changes to the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) programme and the introduction of a Premium Investor Visa (PIV) as part of the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. Austrade was tasked with developing a new Complying Investment Framework for the SIV and PIV, which was announced on 15 May 2015. Austrade has three primary ongoing responsibilities under the SIV and PIV programmes:

  1. Nominate potential SIV applicants (along with the States and Territories)
  2. Develop the new PIV programme and be the sole nominator
  3. Assess the Complying Investment Framework design on an ongoing basis to ensure the programme achieves its objectives over time.

Further information on Austrade’s role in developing the Complying Investment Framework, nominations and the development of the PIV can be found below. To contact Austrade, please email investorvisas@austrade.gov.au

It is important to note that while Austrade was tasked with developing the Complying Investment Framework for the PIV and enhanced SIV, it is the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) that is responsible for the management of the migration programme, including regulatory changes, implementation, compliance and ongoing administration.

SIV investors will be required to prove to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) that each managed fund they invest in is a complying investment. The responsible manager of the relevant managed fund must make a declaration to DIBP that their services would be limited to the categories of investments in Australia specified by the Minister for Immigration in the legislative instrument. Interested parties should seek professional advice to ensure their investments are compliant.

Further questions on the process of applying for a SIV and assessing complying investments should be directed to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

FAQs explaining the new complying investment arrangements.

Disclaimer: this is for information only and is not advice. Any person relying on this information does so entirely at their own risk and Austrade urges any user to seek professional advice before making any decision. Austrade denies liability for any loss arising from reliance on information provided on this website.

1 July 2015 – Enhanced Significant and Premium Investor Visa programmes commence

Changes to the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) and the introduction of a Premium Investor Visa (PIV) have now commenced. The new Complying Investment Framework for the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) and introduction of the Premium Investor Visa (PIV) are aimed at attracting applicants with business and entrepreneurial skills and capital to enhance investment into innovative Australian businesses and the commercialisation of Australian ideas, research and development.

The SIV and PIV are part of the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda announced by the Prime Minister in October 2014. Following the announcement, Austrade undertook extensive consultations with interested stakeholders, including public consideration of complying investment design options through two rounds of public written submissions (receiving approximately 170 submissions).

Under the new arrangements, SIV applicants will be required to invest at least $5 million over four years in complying investments, which must now include:

  • At least $500,000 in eligible Australian venture capital or growth private equity (VCPE) fund(s) investing in start-up and small private companies. The Government expects to increase this to $1 million for new applications within two years as the market responds;
  • At least $1.5 million in an eligible managed fund(s) or Listed Investment Companies (LICs) that invest in emerging companies; and,
  • A ‘balancing investment’ of up to $3 million in managed fund(s) or LICs that invest in a combination of eligible assets that include Australian listed securities, eligible corporate bonds or notes, annuities and real property (subject to the 10 per cent limit on residential real estate).

Previously, investment through the SIV programme was largely going into passive investments like government bonds and into residential real estate schemes – areas that already attract large capital flows. Direct investment in real estate has never been a complying investment for SIV and this will not change under the new arrangements. Indirect investment in residential real estate through managed funds will also now be limited. Importantly, a SIV holder can still independently invest in residential real estate so long as it complies with foreign investment rules, but this would not count as a complying investment to qualify for a visa.

The Premium Investor Visa (PIV) has been introduced to attract a small number of highly talented and entrepreneurial individuals who can translate those skills and talents into areas which deliver a long-term economic benefit to Australia. The PIV will be available at the invitation of the Australian Government only, with potential recipients to be nominated by Austrade. Please note, the Government will be highly selective in determining who is offered the opportunity to apply for a PIV, and unsolicited expressions of interest will not be accepted. The programme will be developed in Australia’s top two-way investment market, the United States, in the first instance and then gradually expanded to other top two-way investment markets.

Information on the process of applying for a SIV can be found on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website. Any questions on complying investments and the process of applying for a SIV should be directed to DIBP.

Austrade thanks all of the stakeholders who contributed to the development of the new complying investment framework for the SIV and PIV programme.

Consultation and announcements

15 May 2015 – New Complying Investment Framework announced

4 March 2015 – Public submissions closed: policy options

18 February 2015 – Webinar on policy options

12 February 2015 – Second round of stakeholder consultations and policy options for comment

7 January 2015 – Public submissions closed: Complying Investment Framework

26 November 2014 – Invitation for public submissions: questions to inform design options for the Significant and Premium Investor Visas

14 October 2014 – Announcement of changes to the Significant Investor Visa Complying Investment Framework and the introduction of a Premium Investor Visa

4 March 2015 – Public submissions closed: policy options

Public submissions to Austrade on the proposed policy options for the Significant Investor Visa and the new Premium Investor Visa have now officially closed. If you have any questions, please email them to investorvisas@austrade.gov.au.

18 February 2015 – Webinar on policy options

Thank you to those who attended the webinar on Austrade’s policy options for the Significant and Premium Investor Visa Programmes. Download the webinar presentation (PDF).

12 February 2015 – Second round of stakeholder consultations and policy options for comment

Austrade has been consulting with stakeholders on the design of a new complying investment framework for the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) and the design of a new Premium Investor Visa (PIV) since the policy announcement was made in October 2014. As part of these extensive consultations, Austrade invited written public submissions on possible design options by January 2015. Sixty eight submissions were received.

The consultations have informed the Government’s design of a set of policy options for the SIV and PIV (PDF). Austrade is now seeking comments and suggestions on the options as part of a second round of written submissions.

Please note that Austrade will host a webinar at 3pm AEDT on Tuesday 17 February to explain the policy options and answer clarifying questions. If you have a particular question you would like to be addressed during the webinar, please email it to investorvisas@austrade.gov.au by 5pm AEDT on Monday 16 February. We will try to answer as many of the questions as possible, within the time limitations.

7 January 2015 – Public submissions closed: Complying Investment Framework

Public submissions to Austrade on the development of a new complying investment framework for changes to the Significant Investor Visa and the new Premium Investor Visa have now officially closed.

26 November 2014 – Invitation for public submissions: questions to inform design options for the Significant and Premium Investor Visas

The Prime Minister announced changes to the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) and the creation of a new Premium Investor Visa (PIV) on 14 October 2014. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Austrade are tasked with developing a new complying investment framework, to determine what types of investment will be considered relevant to SIV and PIV. Currently, Austrade is calling for public submissions on this issue. Austrade will receive submissions until 5 January 2015.

The Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb has issued a media release regarding the submissions process.

14 October 2014 – Announcement of changes to the Significant Investor Visa Complying Investment Framework and the introduction of a Premium Investor Visa

The Significant Investor Visa (SIV), administered by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, is one of three broad visa categories within the Business Investment and Innovation Programme. The SIV stream is for people who are willing to invest at least A$5 million into complying investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia.

The Australian Government recently announced reforms to improve the SIV programme including the introduction of a new Premium Investor Visa (PIV) offering a more expeditious, 12 month pathway to permanent residency than the SIV, for those meeting a $15 million threshold.

The changes to the programmes are expected to be implemented after July 2015.

For information on the current Significant Investor Visa programme, please visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Register for periodic updates on the complying investment framework for the enhanced Significant Investor Visa and new Premium Investor Visa.