What is the change? Australia will soon provide a new visa pathway for foreign entrepreneurs through the Business Innovation and Investment Visa program.                   

What does the change mean? Beginning 10 September, foreign entrepreneurs under 55 years of age with competent English language skills and who undertake, or propose to undertake, a ‘complying entrepreneur activity’ in Australia will be able to seek an invitation to apply for a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (subclass 188) visa.   

  • Implementation time frame: 10 September.
  • Visa/permits affected: Business Innovation and Investment Visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign entrepreneurs interested in relocating to Australia who meet the criteria outlined above.
  • Business impact: Officials announced the idea for an entrepreneur visa stream last year, expressing hope that the visa would contribute to what Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called an “ideas boom” in Australia.
  • Next steps: Eligible foreign entrepreneurs may submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to seek to apply for a subclass 188 visa beginning Saturday.

Background: Turnbull announced that Australia would create an entrepreneur visa in an Innovation Statement delivered in December.

To be eligible, applicants must have plans for a complying entrepreneurial venture in Australia, secure AUD$200,000 worth of funding, be younger than 55, have competent English skills, own at least a 30 per cent interest in their venture and be nominated by a state or territory government. Third-party funding must come from federal agencies, state or territory governments, publicly funded research organizations or an investor registered as Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (VCLP) or Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (ESVCLP). Ventures involving residential real estate, labour hire or the purchase of existing businesses will not be accepted.

Subclass 188 visa holders will be permitted to enter and remain in Australia for four years and three months from the date their visa is granted and must maintain a relationship with a nominating Australian state or territory. The subclass 188 visa will also provide primary visa holders (and their accompanying dependent family members) with an option to apply for the permanent Business Innovation and Investment subclass 888 visa if they have resided in Australia for at least two of the four years and can show that their venture has been a success, as measured by factors including business turnover, jobs created and the ability to secure financial backing.

BAL Analysis: The new visa pathway is part of a broader effort to invest in and promote innovation in Australia. The changes will provide new pathways for entrepreneurs and other foreign experts to work and reside in Australia.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact

MARN: 9683856

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About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from seven offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP