Consider an Australian business visa

Consider an Australian business visa


If you’re looking to migrate to Australia, but can’t apply for a skilled migration visa because you don’t have the qualifications or necessary work experience, or if you’ve been caught out by the Australian Government’s recent change to the maximum age for skilled visa applicants, consider an Australian business visa.

Australian business visas are available to owners and part-owners of certain businesses, senior executives employed by major businesses, employees with a high level of management skills, people with a ‘significant business history’ and certain ‘entrepreneurs’ with a funding agreement from a third party. 

Australian business visas are a pathway to permanent residency in Australia: usually, you’ll first have to apply for a temporary four year visa, but once you have spent one year in Australia, you’ll become entitled to apply for a permanent residency visa. Your temporary visa also entitles you to bring members of your immediate family with you to Australia, and you can travel in and out of the country as often as you like for the duration of the visa. All business visas require you to show that you have a genuine commitment to continuing your business or investment in Australia.


The innovation visa is the most popular Australian business visa, because it requires the least financial investment, depending on the Australian business you invest in. You are eligible for this visa if you intend to either bring your South African business to Australia, or start or take over an Australian business.

In acquiring the innovation visa, you’ll have to meet certain age and financial points test requirements, and you’ll be required to show that your South African business has made at least $500,000 AUD in turnover in at least 2 of the last 4 years. You’ll also need to prove that you can bring $800,000 into Australia within 2 years of your visa being granted, and provide evidence of your successful financial and/or business career in South Africa. Importantly, you may use the $800,000 investment, or just a portion, towards the acquisition or set-up of your Australian business.

The next step up is the investor visa stream, which is for applicants who may not have business ownership experience, or are seeking a more secure way to invest their money in Australia. In addition to meeting the age and financial points requirements, this visa requires you to show that you have at least 3 years of experience of direct involvement in owning or managing a successful business, or in managing an eligible investment of at least $1.5 million AUD. You’ll also need to prove that you have an overall successful record in business, and be able to show that for 2 years before your application you have net assets of about $2.2 million AUD, and are willing to bring that amount to Australia within 2 years of your visa being granted. You’ll also be required to show that you’re willing to invest $1.5 million AUD into a State government bond, and that you’re willing to hold that investment for at least 4 years. Of course, this $1.5 million 4 year government investment will generally be more secure than an investment into an Australian business. Importantly, unlike the innovation visa, this visa doesn’t require you to show that your South African business meets the Australian Government’s turnover requirements.

As an alternative to visa which require a financial investment from you, if you have a great idea for a start-up, product commercialization or business development of a promising high-value business idea, you could consider applying for the Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream. To apply, you must first receive at least $1 million AUD in funding from an Australian venture capital firm, and have a formal agreement regarding that funding. You’ll also require nomination from an Australian State or Territory, which may impose their own further individual requirements. Unlike the innovation and investor visas, this visa is an immediate pathway to your permanent residency in Australia – there’s no need to first apply for a temporary visa.

The Application Process

You’ll need to ensure that you provide correct and sufficient documentation to establish your business or financial history, and show that you have a genuine commitment to Australia. If you self-manage the process, and your visa application is rejected, you won’t be refunded the application fee. Rights of review are often very limited, and subject to strict time constraints. Then there’s the added cost of having the decision reviewed by the Tribunal or the Court. Don’t risk your future by self-managing the visa application process, speak to one of our qualified South African and Australian professionals today.