Publications / Corporate Advisory
WHO SHOULD READ THIS
- Potential foreign investors and fund managers.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
- The framework for the Premium Investor visa has been introduced but is only available to applicants nominated by AusTrade.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
- Note the new visa.
The Premium Investor stream (PIV) of the Business Innovation and Investment visa program came into effect on 1 July 2015.
The PIV is a new visa, aimed at high net worth individuals seeking to reside permanently in Australia, and will require a prospective visa applicant to invest AUD$15 million into approved Australian investments or philanthropic contributions.
Permanent residency will be available to eligible visa holders after 12 months.
The purpose of the PIV is to attract high net worth individuals to contribute their entrepreneurial skill or talent to Australia into areas which deliver a long-term economic benefit to the country.
The PIV will have no residency requirements, and successful applicants will be eligible for permanent residency after maintaining their investment for 12 months. Investments will be limited to new investments or investments made in the last two years.
An applicant can only be nominated by the Australian Trade Commission (AusTrade). Unlike the Significant Investor visa, there is no scope for States or Territories to nominate visa applicants, however the State and Territory government agencies will still have a role in approving philanthropic contributions.
A complying premium investment is an investment or a philanthropic contribution, or a combined investment and philanthropic contribution of AUD$15 million.
All funds used to make an investment or philanthropic contribution (or both) must be unencumbered and lawfully acquired, and must not form the basis for security or collateral for a loan.
Philanthropic contribution requirements
- A philanthropic contribution must be approved in writing, by a State or Territory government agency, and
- there is no provision (at this stage) for approval of philanthropic contributions by AusTrade.
The investor’s funds may be invested in a managed investment fund or by direct investment. Managed investment funds include managed investment schemes (whose interests are not and not represented to become, traded on a financial market) and listed investment companies. These investments may only include:
- securities quoted on an Australian securities exchange
- bonds or notes issued by:
- a company quoted on an Australian securities exchange or their Australian-incorporated wholly owned subsidiary
- a company incorporated in Australia, or a registered foreign company, if the bonds or notes are rated as investment grade by a credit rating agency that holds an Australian financial services licence, or
- the Commonwealth Government, the government of a State or Territory or a local government authority in Australia.
- a proprietary company within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 that is:
- incorporated in Australia, and
- a limited company within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001.
- annuities issued by a company registered under section 21 of the Life Insurance Act 1995, if the annuity does not repay capital during the period of the visa
- Australian real property , however the following restrictions apply in regard to residential real property, including any Australian land zoned for residential use:
- no direct residential real property investment may be made through the fund
- no other residential real property investment (including, but not limited to, a debt or equity instrument, or a derivative) may be made through the fund unless:
- the value of all residential real property investments is no more than 10% of the value of the fund’s net assets
- the investment is not made for the dominant purpose of deriving financial benefits, and
- the investment is not made for the dominant purpose of assisting any of the following individuals to reside in or gain legal ownership in Australian residential real property (including any Australian land zoned for residential use):
- the investor
- the investor’s spouse or de facto partner, or
- any other member of the family unit of the investor or the investor’s spouse or de facto partner.
- if the investment is made through a managed investment fund – cash held by Australian ADIs (including certificates of deposit, bank bills and other cash-like instruments), provided no more than 20 percent of the fund’s net assets may be invested in such assets, or
- derivatives but only if the derivative (other than options over securities) is made for risk management purposes and is not a speculative investment.
For investments made through a managed investment fund, the issuer of the interests in the managed investment scheme or listed investment company, and any person (investment manager) authorised by an issuer to manage or make the investment on the issuer’s behalf, must either:
- hold, or be covered by, an AFSL, or
- be exempt from the requirement to hold an AFSL.
Further, the central management and control of any issuer and investment manager must be in Australia.
A PIV investor, their spouse or de facto partner, or an associate of the PIV investor, their spouse or de facto partner, must not be the issuer, investment manager or involved in the management, or control of, or in partnership with, an issuer or investment manager.
There is no minimum amount of time the visa holder or their spouse or de facto partner must reside in Australia during the term of the visa.
Focus covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. Focus is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.