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Investment migration visa reforms targeting investors and business makers

Investment migration visa reforms targeting investors and business makers

In keeping with its commitment to improve foreign investment in Australia, the federal government has recently revealed the details of the reforms that it says will attract and retain the interest of international figures who are keen to put their funds into national development.

On May 25 the minister for immigration and citizenship Chris Bowen announced the delivery of the Significant Investor Visa, claiming it would help to deliver a "boost to the economy".

Mr Bowen asserted: "This new visa will make it easier for investors coming to Australia by offering some concessions on visa requirements – such as not having to meet a points test and reduced residence requirements – in recognition of their meaningful investment contribution.

"This is an important part of Australia’s skilled migration program because it targets migrants who have a demonstrated history of innovation and success in business."

The minister went on to say that these individuals would be in the position to make a "strong contribution" to the local economy in the form of increased job opportunities and financial development.

"We are implementing several measures to increase the volume and quality of applicants for this program, which will be renamed the Business Innovation and Investment program."

According to Mr Bowen, the changes will help Australia to keep pace with other countries that are competing for talented international investors - such as Canada, Singapore, the UK and our neighbours in New Zealand.

These nations currently offer migration visas that are based on dedicated investment activities of a certain size and effective impact - a move that the new programs are designed to mimic.

The minister also said that the new immigration visa would be in line with other incentives deployed under the Business Skills programs, which were designed to attract individuals with diverse commercial experience and entrepreneurial backgrounds to the country.

With 7,200 places allocated to the Business Skills visa over 2011-12, it remains to be seen how much of an impact the new incentives will have on the levels of foreign investment in Australia.

In addition, while the new SkillSelect program due to commence on July 1, Mr Bowen suggested that the government was looking to include further alterations to the scheme down the track.

While he did not offer any specifics as to what these changes may be or how they could impact on the efforts of registered agents across the country, it is interesting to see how fluid the minister's response to the changes in market demand can be.

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