Category Archives: Visa Subclass 188

Business skills visa applications – the latest statistics

Go Matilda Visas has obtained the latest numbers of subclass 188 provisional business skills visa applications that are in progress and awaiting a decision.

Business skills visas are subdivided into streams:

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

Most applications for subclass 188 visas are made under the Business Innovation stream.  

This is the pathway for successful business owners who want to migrate to Australia.

Such applicants are required to set up or acquire a business in Australia and to operate that business for at least two years before they can apply for permanent residency in Australia, with a record of compliance with Australia’s tax regulations.

The statistics we have obtained from the Department of Home Affairs following a Freedom of Information request indicate almost 14,000 applications for subclass 188 visas under the Business Innovation stream.

See the table via the web link below for the details we have obtained.

While some of these applications will be secondary applicants (spouse/partner/dependent children) there is clearly a backlog of applications.

Disappointingly the Federal Government has advised that only 1,900 places are available to business skills visa applicants for the program year ended 30 June 2024.

This is a reduction from 5,000 in the program year to 30 June 2023.

With a total number of applicants for business skills visas of nearly 20,000 if the program number is maintained the business skills visa backlog will take some 10 years to clear.

Business skills visa applications – on hand up to 31 July 2023 – at 18 September 2023

Business Visas Given Priority in Australia’s 2020 Budget

The Australian Government has announced a significant increase in the number of visas available to business owners and investors who want to move to Australia.

Each year at the time of the Federal Budget the Australian Government announces details of the ceiling on the number of visas it will make available for the forthcoming year to 30th June.

Due to COVID-19 this year’s Federal Budget was delayed from May 2020 until this week.

While the ceiling on visa numbers remains at 160,000 the composition of the migration program between visa types for 2020/21 has changed quite markedly compared to the previous year.

In particular there is a significant increase in the number of visas available under Australia’s Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP), which includes visa subclass 188.

For the year to 30 June 2021 the total number of visas available under the BIIP will be 13,500.

This should be compared with the program year to 30 June 2020 where the total number of visas granted under the BIIP was 4,420 (the planning level for last year was 6,862; the number of visas granted was restricted due to COVID).

While there continues to be a backlog of applicants for business innovation and investment visas it is clear that the Australian Government sees this area as being key to a successful exit from COVID, including the rebuilding of employment opportunities and the nation’s finances.

If you are a business owner or investor, believe you can meet the threshold requirements for a subclass 188 visa, and want to move to Australia please feel able to complete the enquiry form on this web page.

We can then have a free no obligation chat with you to discuss your situation in more detail, and how we might help.

Our Managing Director is a registered migration agent, and is a qualified Chartered Accountant in the UK and in Australia, so is ideally placed to discuss your visa strategy and tax planning associated with a move to Australia.


New Australian Business Visa for Entrepreneurs

The Australian Government has announced a new pathway to permanent residency in Australia for entrepreneurs.

The new pathway is the Entrepreneur stream of visa subclass 188, and is available for entrepreneurs who want to develop or commercialise their innovative ideas in Australia, and who have A$200,000 in funding from a specified third party.

Applications must be nominated by a State or Territory Government in Australia.

More specifically, applicants must:

  • Be under 55 years of age, although a State or Territory Government can waive this requirement if the proposed “Complying Entrepreneur Activity” will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating State or Territory
  • Have competent English, and be able to provide evidence of this at the time the visa invitation is issued
  • Be undertaking – or proposing to undertake – a “Complying Entrepreneur Activity” in Australia, and have a genuine intention to continue this activity

A Complying Entrepreneur Activity is an activity that relates to an innovative idea that will lead to the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia, or the development of an enterprise or business in Australia.

This activity must not relate to any of the following excluded categories:

  • Residential real estate
  • Labour hire
  • Purchase of an existing enterprise or a franchise in Australia

An activity is a Complying Entrepreneur Activity if all of the following requirements are met:

  • The applicant has one or more legally enforceable agreements to receive funding with a total of at least A$200,000 from one of the following entities:
    1. A Commonwealth Government agency
    2. A State or Territory Government
    3. A Publicly Funded Research Organisation
    4. An investor registered as an Australian Venture Capital Limited Partnership, or an Early State Venture Capital Limited Partnership
    5. A Specified Higher Education Provider
  • Under the agreement at least 10 per cent of the funding must be payable to the entrepreneurial entity within 12 months of the day the activity starts to be undertaken in Australia
  • The applicant held at least a 30 per cent interest in the entrepreneurial entity when entering into the agreement
  • The applicant has a business plan for the entrepreneurial entity noting how the innovative idea will lead to the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia, or the development of an enterprise or business in Australia.

The outcome of a successful application will be a provisional visa under subclass 188, permitting a stay in Australia of 4 years and 3 months.

In common with visas granted under the other streams of subclass 188, permanent residency for most will be secured through a subclass 888 visa.

Key requirements for the granting of a permanent residency visa under the Entrepreneur stream of subclass 888 include demonstrating a successful record of entrepreneurial activities in Australia.

A successful record of entrepreneurial activity will be measured by a combination of “key success factors” and “supporting success factors.”

Applicants for the subclass 888 visa will need to demonstrate the completion of at least two key success factors, or a combination of one key success factor and three supporting success factors.

Key success factors include:

  • Employing two or more Australians, permanent residents or other eligible persons
  • Generating an annual turnover of at least A$300,000
  • Filing a provisional patent or acquiring a standard or innovation patent
  • Receiving ongoing funding or investment in the entrepreneur activity
  • Entering into a partnership with a University
  • Selling an entrepreneurial venture for A$2,000,000

Supporting success factors include:

  • Diversifying 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 one other business or contributing to at least two other businesses
  • Receiving formal awards or recognition
  • Raising or contributing to social capital

As with the subclass 188 visa, for a successful subclass 888 visa application the activity undertaken must not relate to any of the excluded categories:

  • Residential real estate
  • Labour hire
  • Purchase of an existing enterprise or a franchise in Australia

We take this opportunity to remind intending applicants for a subclass 188 stream (whether under the Entrepreneur stream, or any of the other streams under subclass 188) that the 188 visa is technically a temporary residency visa, so there are also tax planning advantages available, particularly in respect of income and capital gains arising outside Australia.

Tax planning and business structuring advice is available through our partner business, GM Tax.

If you are interested in discussing your visa strategy, and/or making an application for an Australian Entrepreneur visa we will be delighted to hear from you. A free initial discussion is available.