Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) – Entrepreneur Stream
This visa enables entrepreneurs with investor funding to develop an enterprise or business in Australia. The 188 visa is valid for 4 years and 3 months and can be used towards permanent residency.
Summary of 188 visa application process for the Entrepreneur Stream:
- Submit an EOI, selecting your business destination state of choice.
- The state or territory will assess your EOI and nominate you to apply.
- On receiving a nomination, submit your visa application within 60 days, along with supporting documents relating to you, your business history and your proposed business venture.
Step one. Submit an EOI to a State or Territory, selecting your business destination state of choice.
Before applying for this visa, you need to be nominated by a state or territory government. This involves submitting an Expression of Interest, selecting the state or territory you want to invest in. The investment, job creation and asset allocation vary for each state and territory vary, so be sure you understand the criteria of that state or territory. Our Australian government registered migration agent can advise you on this and can arrange consultations with the respective state or territory business migration officer to discuss individual proposals.
You can be in or out of Australia when the EOI is submitted; you will receive confirmation confirming your EOI has been received.
You can change your EOI after you submit it if you want to apply for a different visa, or your circumstances have changed. However, you can’t change the EOI once you are invited to apply for the visa.
Step two. The state or territory will assess your EOI and nominate you to apply. You will then be invited to apply for the 188 visa by the Federal immigration department. Prepare to apply.
If a state or territory nominates you, you will receive an invitation from Australia’s immigration department to apply for the 188 visa through the Entrepreneur stream. This can take anything up to 2 years to happen.
On receiving the invitation to apply for the visa, you will have up to 60 days to lodge your visa application with all the supporting documents. These include:
Proof of Age
You must be under 55 years old to receive an invitation to apply for the visa. Exceptions can be made if the nominating State or Territory conclude your activity will make an exceptional economic benefit to that State or Territory.
Your visa application will be supported by supporting documents. These are:
Passport page: You’ll need your current passport page with your photograph and personal details and passport expiry date.
A national identity card if you have one.
Proof of name change if applicable.
If this applies to you, you will need to include documents that prove your change of name. This could be a marriage or divorce certificate, documents that show any other names you have been known by, a lodgement of a name change on the Australian Registry of Births, Deaths or Marriages or equivalent.
You will need to demonstrate that you are undertaking or proposing to undertake a complying entrepreneurial activity in Australia and have a genuine intention to pursue it.
The immigration department’s definition of a complying entrepreneur activity is one that will lead to:
The commercialisation of a product or service in Australia
The development of an enterprise or business in Australia.
Some activities do not qualify as entrepreneurial activities in relation this stream. Excluded activities are those relating to:
- Residential real estate
- Labour hire
- Purchase of an existing enterprise or a franchise in Australia
Funding is from an approved entity
Funding must be legally acquired.
You must have at least one legally binding agreement to receive funding of at least AUD200,000. The funding must be from one of these entities:
Commonwealth Government agency
State or Territory government agency
Publicly funded research or innovation organisation
High education provider specified as a Table A or Table B provider under Part 2-1 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003.
Investor registered as an Australian Venture Capital Limited Partnership or Early State Venture Capital Limited Partnership
The agreement must show that at least 10% of this funding must be payable to the entrepreneurial entity within 12 months of starting the activity in Australia.
The entity that will conduct the activity must be either an individual (ie you), a company or a partnership.
You must have owned a 30% interest in the entrepreneurial entity when you entered the agreement.
You will need to supply a business plan for the entrepreneurial entity. The business plan should explain how your innovative idea will lead to the commercialisation of a product or service in Australia or the creation of an enterprise or business in Australia.
History of unacceptable activities
You and your partner must not have a history of being involved in a business or investment activity that is assessed to be generally unacceptable in Australia.
Australian police clearance: This must be a Complete Disclosure National Police Certificates issued by the Australian Federal Police. These should be no older than 12 months at the time you submit your visa application.
Overseas police clearances: You need to provide a police certificate from every country (including your home country) in which you have spent a total of 12 months or more in the last 10 years since turning 16and also police clearances for each country you have lived in since.
If you have served in the armed forces of any country, you will need to include your discharge papers and military service record.
As well as this, you will need to complete the immigration department’s Form 80 and Form 1221.
English language Requirements
If you are applying for a 188 visa through the Entrepreneur stream, you will need to provide from that you have at competent English.
Other family members you are including on your application who are over 18 years old will need to have functional English.
If other family members do not have functional English, you will need to include a statement outlining your intention to pay the second visa application charge for each person who does not have a minimum of functional English.
You’ll need to provide documents proving your partner’s’ identity (eg passport photo page) and their relationship to you.
Establishing your partner’s relationship to you can be done by providing a marriage certificate or providing 12 months of proof that you are in a de facto relationship, such as, joint bank account statements, billing accounts in both names, joint leases or mortgages.
Dependents under 18 years old
You will need to include identity documents, proof of their relationship to you (such as a birth certificate) and character documents where applicable for dependents, such as children, applying with you on your 188 visa application.
You will also need to obtain the written consent (using Form 1229 or by providing a statutory declaration) from anyone else who has a legal right to decide where the child lives and/or is not coming to Australia with the child. This needs to include the signature and photograph of the person who provided this written consent. Written consent can also be a statutory declaration giving their consent for the child to travel to Australia on this visa, or you can present an Australian court order allowing the child to migrate to Australia or details of a law in your home country allowing them to migrate, adoption papers or other court documents.
If you have dependents who are over 18 years old, you will need to include Form 47a detailing the ways this applicant is dependent on you. You can also include other forms of proof, such as their tax records, evidence they are currently studying and/or they live with you.
If the dependents applying are over 18 years old, you must show how they are dependent on you or your partner. You can include evidence that they live with you, tax records, proof they are currently studying, banks statements showing you have financially supported them.
If one of the dependents applying on your application is over the age of 23 years old, contact us to learn what options are available to you.
Step three. On receiving a nomination, submit your visa application within 60 days, along with supporting documents relating to you, your business history and your proposed business venture.
Your documents can be submitted digitally through the Australian immigration department’s portal, ImmiAccount.
Applying from Hong Kong?
If you are applying from Hong Kong, China, Macau or Taiwan, refer to the document checklist issued by the Australian Consulate General Hong Kong.
When you are ready to submit your 188 visa application, if you are applying from Hong Kong, China, Macau or Taiwan, your visa application will be sent to the Australian Consulate General Hong Kong.
Step 4. Your visa is processed.
You can travel to and from Australia while you wait for the 188 visa application to be processed.
Be sure to have a valid visa if you are returning to Australia while your visa is being processed. Do not cancel the current visa are on. If you are appling for the 188 visa in Australia and need to stay in Australia, our registered migration agent can advise you on the bridging visa you need to ensure you remain in Australia legally.
While your visa is being processed, you may be asked to have a health examination or provide biometrics.
You may also be asked to pay the second instalment of the visa application fee.
You can add additional family members to your application while your application is being processed. Additional applicants will also need to meet Australia’s health and character requirements. Use Form 1436.
If any information supplied on your application changes, for example, you get a new passport, you have a change of address, the birth of a child, changes to your business status, you will need to add this information to your application.
Step 5. The 188 visa is granted.
The 188 visa is valid for 4 years and 3 months and enables you to travel in and out of Australia and carry out business and investment activities in Australia.
188 visa obligations
As a holder of the 188 visa through the Entrepreneur stream, there are business activities you will need to comply with, namely successfully carrying out activities in Australia that meet the requirements of a complying entrepreneurial activity for the duration of your visa.
The success of your activities will be assessed on three areas:
- The number of Australian citizens and permanent residents employed;
- The level and nature of ongoing funding and investment in the activities;
- The annual turnover of the business activities.
While you and your family hold a 188 visa, you must comply with the visa conditions and Australian laws, including workplace laws. All workers in Australia have rights and protections at work that include rates of pay and workplace conditions.
Applying for Permanent Residency
While you have this 188 visa, you can apply for permanent residency through the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (Subclass 888) Entrepreneur stream.Contact us for 188E visa advice