Category Archives: Visa Subclass 188A

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

Visa Subclass 188A – Business Innovation Stream Applicants – Extending Your Stay in Australia

The subclass 188 Business Innovation Extension stream is an option for subclass 188 Business Innovation stream visa holders who have an ownership interest in a business in Australia, and who have not yet managed to reach the required financial thresholds for the granting of a subclass 888 permanent residency visa.

To be eligible for an extension of the subclass 188 visa an interest in a business in Australia must have been in place for at least 2 years, and the visa holder must be the holder of a subclass 188 visa that was granted under the Business Innovation stream.

Documents to be submitted to the Department of Immigration are similar to those required for a permanent residency visa application under the Business Innovation stream of subclass 888, and include:

  • Confirmation of the ownership interest in an Australian business for at least 2 years
  • Evidence of participation in the day to day management of the business for at least the two years immediately before the visa application is submitted to the Department of Immigration.

Only one extension of the 188 visa is permitted for those seeking permanent residency under the Business Innovation stream of subclass 888, and if granted the total period the visa holder is permitted to stay in Australia will be extended to 6 years from the date the initial subclass 188 visa is granted.

Please feel able to contact Go Matilda Business Visas if you have a subclass 188 visa and would like to discuss your visa strategy from where you are now.

What is a “fiscal year”?

The term “fiscal year” appears generally in the requirements relating to the pathways under visa subclass 188.

For example, in the Business Innovation stream of visa subclass 188 applicants are required to deliver: “… financial statements to cover 2 fiscal years before the applicant is invited to apply for the visa. Fiscal years must cover a full 12 month period.”

Under the Investor stream of visa subclass 188 applicants applicants must: “… have owned net assets of AUD 2,250,000 throughout the 2 fiscal years immediately before the applicant is invited to apply for the visa.”

In addition, under the Investor stream: “… if the application is made 3 months or more after the end of the most recent fiscal year, they must complete another Statement of Assets and Liabilities Position for their financial situation as of the date they apply for the visa.”

Migration legisation provides that the term “fiscal year” in relation to a business or investment, means:

  • If there is applicable to the business or investment by law an accounting period of 12 months — that period; or
  • in any other case — a period of 12 months approved by the Minister in writing for that business or investment.

According to the Department of Immigration: “Fiscal years vary in different countries, some countries keep to a calendar year but other countries prefer the tax period to be different to the busy end of calendar year period.

Officers may approve a period as a fiscal year provided it is a 12 month period, and has been accepted as applying to that business/investment for taxation or reporting purposes by authorities in the country in which the business/investment operates and reports.”

In the UK limited companies and unincorporated businesses such as sole proprietors or partnerships can adopt any balance sheet date, even though the tax year ends on the 5th of April (31st of March for companies).

As such we have found that the Department of Immigration will work with the business balance sheet as being the end of the fiscal year when an application is submitted under the Business Innovation stream.

The Managing Director of Go Matilda Visas – Alan Collett – is a qualified Chartered Accountant (Australia, and England & Wales) and is a Registered Migration Agent (MARN 0102534), with many years of experience. Fees for visa assistance are fixed in amount, and his knowledge in the areas of accounting, tax (UK and Australia), and visas are highly regarded. If you are a business owner or an investor who wants to move to Australia we look forward to having a free initial discussion.

NSW relaxes criteria for business skills visa sponsorship under subclass 188

The NSW Department of Industry has removed the “excluded industry sectors” criteria from its business visa nomination requirements.

The “excluded industry sector” criteria restricted the type of businesses that business migrants could set up in Sydney.

According to the NSW Government: “By removing the criteria and making this change, we aim to attract more business migrants who provide goods and services to all areas of NSW.

The business migration program plays an important role in making NSW a globally attractive location to live, learn, work, invest and to produce goods and services. The new and improved criteria will support the aim of the NSW migration program to create jobs, boost productivity and strengthen the economy.”

The sectors previously excluded were:

Cafes & Restaurants; Takeaway Food Services; Supermarket & Grocery Retail Stores; Fruit & Vegetable Retailing; Specialised Food Retailing; Newspaper & Book Retailing; Clothing Retailing; Footwear Retailing; Other Personal Accessory Retailing; Houseware Retailing; Manchester & Other Textile Goods Retailing; Other Electrical & Electronic Goods Retailing.

If you are business owner who is interested in moving to New South Wales we invite you to complete the enquiry form on this page. We will be delighted to have an initial discussion with you on a no obligation basis about your plans and how we might help.