What is the change? Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced the creation of a new Entrepreneur Visa aimed at attracting foreign innovators to Australia. Turnbull also said the Government would make it easier for post-graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or information and communications technologies (ICT) fields to reside in Australia.

What does the change mean? The changes are part of a broad package of reforms Turnbull announced Monday in his Innovation Statement. The visa will provide a new path for foreign innovators with financial support in Australia, while the efforts to retain STEM and ICT students will provide a fast-tracked pathway to permanent residence.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Entrepreneur Visas, Australian Permanent Resident visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign entrepreneurs and foreign STEM and ICT post-graduate students studying in Australia.
  • Business impact: Officials hope the visa changes will contribute to what Turnbull calls an “ideas boom” that is viewed as a central part of Australia’s economic future.
  • Next steps: Additional details on the new visa category and efforts to retain STEM and ICT talent are expected soon.

Background: The changes were announced Monday as part of a programme to invest A$1.1 billion (about US$795 million) over a four-year period in innovation in Australia.

In a statement, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton’s office said the Entrepreneur Visa will be “available for emerging entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and financial backing to develop their ideas in Australia.” Dutton’s office indicated that the Government will not put a cap on the visas. Australia will undertake the effort to retain foreign nationals in post-graduate STEM and ICT programmes by making changes to “facilitate a pathway to permanent residence” for qualifying students, Dutton said.

The changes announced Monday will not affect Australia’s Subclass 457 skilled visa or other visa programmes.

BAL Analysis: The new visa and renewed focus on STEM and ICT post-graduate students are 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. BAL will follow the rollout of the new programmes and alert clients as additional information becomes available.

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

MARN: 9683856

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