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Business Innovation and Investment Visa – why using an immigration lawyer makes sense

Brett Slater Solicitors > Immigration Lawyers Sydney Blog  > Business Innovation and Investment Visa – why using an immigration lawyer makes sense

Business Innovation and Investment Visa – why using an immigration lawyer makes sense

Business Innovation and Investment Visa – Use An Expert!

Business Innovation and Investment Visas are complex areas of Australian Immigration Legislation. It is important to get expert advice.

Australia’s immigration legislation provides opportunities for eligible business-minded people to visit or reside in Australia. Different streams under the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa (subclass 188) allow Visa holders to live in Australia for up to four years, with potential extensions and permanent residency available for some Visa types, based on eligibility.

Overseas entrepreneurs or investors may be interested in the:

  • Business Innovation stream;
  • Investor stream;
  • Significant Investor stream;
  • Premium Investor stream; or
  • Entrepreneur stream.

These types of Visas require applicants to have proven business and / or investment skills, hold substantial assets and financial resources and have a desire to establish and operate a business in Australia or invest sizeable funds in complying investments.

The Business Innovation and Investment Visa application process is complex with many thresholds and criteria to meet. There can be much at stake in terms of time and money, which is why it makes sense for those interested in pursuing a business or investment Visa to use an immigration lawyer from the outset. Here we explain why:

Business Innovation and Investment Visas are a specialised class

Unlike many other Visa types, business innovation and investment Visas require potential applicants to submit an expression of interest through SkillSelect. Application is by invitation only by an Australian state or territory Government or agency.

Without a strong expression of interest, a potential applicant will not be considered. The most appropriate Visa type must be identified before submissions prepared to address specific criteria. Expressions must be supported by relevant documentation to ensure time and money is not wasted, and to increase the chance of securing an invitation.

Applicants must appropriately convey their business ideas or investment history. Preparing good submissions often requires knowledge in other areas of law such as corporation law, administration and taxation law. A financial commitment is required, and potential applicants should discuss their plans with an immigration lawyer to identify an appropriate pathway and obtain an initial assessment before proceeding.

Preparing a valid Visa application is vital

Business innovation and investment Visa applications must meet the valid criteria and regulations, as the invalid application will be returned.

In addition to meeting the health and character requirements applicable to all other Visa types, business Visa applicants must demonstrate a high level of management skill with respect to eligible investments or qualifying business activity and show that they meet the required financial thresholds.

With most streams, applicants are also assessed under an innovation points test with scores awarded for age, English skills, qualifications, business or investment experience, business and personal assets and innovation.

An expert immigration lawyer will take time to understand the nature of an existing or proposed business, in consideration of the criteria required, and may work with other professionals such as accountants, to ensure the application is correctly prepared and supported.

Business Innovation and Investment Visa holders must comply with strict laws

Business and investment activities in Australia are highly regulated. Laws provide for reporting and disclosure requirements for certain activities and govern the conduct of companies and their officers.

Company directors have a range of statutory and common law responsibilities which must be upheld when performing their duties. Government bodies are appointed to administer and oversee these laws and may take action against, or issue penalties to, companies and directors personally for non-compliance and breaches of the law.

Business operators must be familiar with these laws, understand how to minimise the risk of non-compliance, and know when to seek legal advice to navigate potential problems.

Immigration lawyers can help secure permanent residency

Following the grant of a Visa in the Business Innovation and Investment stream, a Visa holder may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa (subclass 888).

Applicants must have a genuine commitment to maintain their business activities or investment for which the temporary Visa was granted. Visa holders and their partners (as applicable) must not have been involved in any unacceptable business or investment activities and must have complied with all Commonwealth and state/territory laws in which the business operates.

After a Business Innovation and Investment Visa is granted, business operators and investors must continue to follow all corporate, taxation, superannuation, employment and investment laws and associated reporting requirements. They should keep up to date with any changes to ensure that activities do not put existing Visas at risk or jeopardise the grant of a permanent Visa.

By maintaining a relationship with professional advisors such as immigration lawyers and accountants, Visa holders and potential Visa applicants can minimise the risk of breaching Visa conditions and improve opportunities for permanent residency.


Business Innovation and Investment Visas provide opportunities for overseas business professionals and investors to secure a temporary residence in Australia, which may lead to permanent residency. Applications require specialist advice.

Applying for the wrong Visa type, being unfamiliar with application processes, and not understanding the laws regulating business and investment activity in Australia, can lead to very costly mistakes and may be detrimental to a Visa application. Working with an immigration lawyer helps eliminate these risks.

If you need more information or if you need assistance or advice on how to proceed please call us on 02 9299 5815 or email [email protected]

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