How to convert foreign currency amounts into AUDs

Eligibility requirements for a business visa include financial thresholds, measured in A$’s.

Most who are applying for provisional business visas under subclass 188 will have a business ownership or investments retained outside Australia, the financial aspects of which are denominated in a currency other than A$’s.

Amounts in foreign currencies must therefore be converted to A$’s to assess the requirements relating to turnover (in the case of a Business Innovation stream application) and the net value of assets or investments (for applications under the other streams of subclass 188, such as Investor or Significant Investor) using the most appropriate exchange rate.

Department of Immigration policy advises that officers should calculate the A$ equivalent value of annual turnover on the basis of the buying exchange rate in the local currency for A$ on the closing rate at the relevant reporting date, that is : “the date/s recorded on the financial statements at the beginning and end of a reporting period (for example, 1 February 2013 and 1 February 2014) or the last day of the fiscal year.

In practice we find that applying the exchange rate at the balancing date – which the Department of Immigration terms the “fiscal year” – is acceptable.

Policy guidance also advises that: “Officers should calculate the A$ equivalent value of assets on the basis of the buying exchange rate on the date used to assess the net value of personal assets. This buying exchange rate must be published by any bank holding an Australian Banking Licence, and published on an approved currency conversion web site.”

An approved currency conversion web site is defined as a website that:

  • Uses exchange rates published by any bank holding Australian Banking Licence, and
  • Provides exchange rates for the relevant currency, and
  • Supports the use of historical exchange rates, and
  • Consistently provides accurate formulated calculations.

An example of a currency conversion web site that is acceptable to the Department of Immigration is here.