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  • Writer's pictureDessie

Significant Investor Visa is not axed or is it?

Newsagencies like the Australian and BBC recently reported that the Labour Government has 'quietly axed' the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) also referred to the ‘golden visa’ program, allowing wealthy investors and entrepreneurs to achieve residency through their business and innovation and most importantly financial contribution.

The program commenced in 2012 and the review of the program's performance to date showed that around 85 percent of applications in the program are from China and about five percent from Hong Kong. The program was widely criticised that it has not been delivering the outcomes which it was intended for, namely it has not attracted the entrepreneurs it was targeting nor has met the economic needs it was aimed to meet.

Minister for Home Affairs Clare O'Neil has announced in April 2023 the intention of the government to make changes to Australia's migration programs, including potentially doing away with BIIP. The number of visas available to the program were reduced for the current fiscal year 2023-24 from 5000 down to 1900 and visa applications continue to be processed.

The program is not closed, however, there are no invitations being made, states and territories are not given numbers for nominating new applicants which in essence being by invitation only program, precludes from visa application lodgement. The Government is considering if the new Talent and Innovation visa they intend to implement could replace the BIIP as they aim to prioritise skilled workers migration while restructuring the existing BIIP.

Migration Institute of Australia chief executive Helen Duncan said that she was concerned that reputable media would publish such articles without checking the facts. There is a commitment to retaining the aspects of the existing BIIP which have performed beneficially, and those who have been looking into utilising significant investments into the Australian economy to gain residency in Australia may still have a pathway to achieve their migration goals.

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