The Australian Government introduced an Entrepreneur Visa in September 2016, adding it to the suite of existing Business Migration and Investor Visas.
The visa is for people who are able to undertake a complying entrepreneur activity in Australia in conjunction with an acceptable partner listed below. It is in some ways a smaller version of the Venture Capital Entrepreneur Visa. This visa provides a pathway to permanent residence.
Conceivably bright international students in Australia researching in innovative, science, engineering, and technological industries may be eligible if they can find eligible partners who could assist with funding for the entrepreneur activity.
Who is eligible for the entrepreneur visa to Australia?
Applicants have to be less than 55 years old, and must be nominated by a State or Territory Government. This requirement can be waived by the nominating government if the proposed activity “is or will be of exceptional economic benefit” to the nominating government.
Unlike the other Business Innovation & Investment visas, the applicant must have Competent English (equivalent to IELTS 6).
And the applicant must undertake, or propose to undertake, a complying entrepreneur activity in Australia, and has a genuine intention to continue this activity.
Furthermore, the nominating government must be satisfied that the net value of the business and personal assets of the applicant is sufficient to allow them to settle in Australia. This net value may vary depending on the nominating government.
The criteria also include the mandatory elements of the entrepreneur activity listed below.
Unlike the Business Innovation (subclass 188a) Visa and the Investor (Subclass 188b) Visa, this Entrepreneur Visa is not subject to the Points Test.
What is Complying Entrepreneur Activity?
A Complying Entrepreneur Activity is an activity that relates to an innovative idea that will lead to either the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia, or the development of an enterprise or business in Australia.
The applicant will need to find a Partner with whom it will have a funding agreement of at least AUD$200,000 to undertake the complying entrepreneur activity. This Partner can be one of the following entities:
• Commonwealth Government agency;
• State or Territory Government;
• Publicly Funded Research or Innovation Organisation;
• Investor registered as an Australian Venture Capital Limited Partnership or Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership; and
• Higher Education Provider.
The entrepreneur activity must comprise the following elements:
• There is one or more legally enforceable agreements to provide funding for at least AUD$200 000 for the entrepreneur activity;
• At least 10 per cent of the funding must be payable to the entrepreneurial entity within 12 months from the day the activity commences in Australia;
• The applicant holds at least 30 per cent interest in the entrepreneurial entity;
• There is a business plan for the entrepreneurial entity showing 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.
What are my obligations for the entrepreneur visa?
It is expected that the Entrepreneur Activity will maintain an ongoing relationship with the nominating State or Territory government; and the funding party must pay the entrepreneurial entity, as described above, at least 10 per cent of AUD$200,000 within 12 months from the day the entrepreneurial activity in Australia commences.