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1 July 2012 Changes – Business Migration Reforms Announced

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship has announced major changes to the Australian business visa program that will apply from 1 July 2012 coinciding with the new DIAC SkillSelect.

The Business Skills visa program will be renamed to Business Innovation and Investment Program as part of these changes for business migration.

The key changes to the new program are:

Business Visa Program To Coincide The New SkillSelect

From 1 July 2012, the business migration program will be integrated into the SkillSelect system. SkillSelect requires applicants to first lodge an EOI(Expression of Interest). The Department of Immigration will then assess the EOIs which have been submitted and invite the best applicants to make a visa application.

As a result, from 1 July 2012 people will not be able to apply directly for business migration, they must first make an EOI and receive an invitation from the Department of Immigration.

Number of Visa Subclasses To Be Reduced To Three

From 13, there will only be 3 business migration subclasses starting 1 July 2012:
• Business Talent (Subclass 132) – a direct pathway to permanent residence for top-level business people
• Provisional Business Innovation and Investment (Subclass 188) – a 4-year provisional visa
• Permanent Business Innovation and Investment (Subclass 888) – the permanent stage of the provisional subclass 188 visa

New Innovation Points Test Created

A new innovation points test has been created for the provisional subclass 188 visa which gives points for:

• Age
• English Language Ability
• Qualifications
• Experience in Business or Investment
• Net Personal Assets
• Business Turnover
• Special Endorsement by State/Territory Government

Currently, applicants for non-permanent business visas do not need to meet a points test. As SkillSelect will give the highest priority to people with the highest points score, the new system will seek to advantage applicants who are more innovative and more likely to succeed in business in Australia.

Transitional Arrangements

People who currently hold business visas (example subclasses 160-165) will still be able to apply for permanent residence through the current system (for example through subclass 890-893). Anyone who applies for the current subclasses prior to 1 July 2012 will also be assessed under the current visa criteria.

It appears that provisional business visa holders will not need to go through SkillSelect for their permanent stage.

It is quite possible that the Established Business in Australia Subclass 845 visa and the Regional Established Business in Australia Subclass 846 visa may be abolished in the near future – though not mentioned.


By reforming the business skills program, the Australian government is looking to raise the standard for business migration. Take note that personal net assets and business turnover will be higher, and applicants will receive points for showing a greater degree of innovation.

Also, requiring applicants to go through SkillSelect will ensure that only the highest qualified applicants will be able to make applications for business migration to Australia.

If you are planning to migrate to Australia, email or call us at (+65) 6299 0246 for further assistance in understanding your visa options and plans for migrating to Australia.
You can also try our free migration assessment to let our consultants help you determine your eligibility for an Australian visa.

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