The 188E is a visa for entrepreneurs with investor funding to develop an enterprise or business in Australia. It can be used as a step towards permanent residency.

The 188E is valid for 4 years.

Once you have managed an investment in Australia for 4 years, you can look at applying for the Business Innovation And Investment (Residence) subclass 888 which gives visa holders permanent residency. Learn more about the 888 here.

Who is this visa for?

The business innovation stream is for individuals who have owned a business and are now looking to establish a business in Australia.

To be eligible for the business innovation stream, you’ll need to:

  • Have funding in place from a qualifying source for a minimum of a $200,000 to establish an enterprise or business in Australia (see below)
  • Be aged under 55 years old (some exceptions are made)
  • Meet the points test for this stream – currently 65 points
  • Show you have an ownership interest of at least 30%
  • Present a business plan of the entrepreneurial entity showing how your innovative idea will lead to the a product or service being commercialised in Australia, or lead to the development of a business or enterprise in Australia.

What funding sources are acceptable?

The following entities are qualifying sources of funding:

  • An investor registered as an Australian venture capital limited partnership or early state venture capital limited partnership
  • Publicly funded research organisation
  • Commonwealth government agency
  • Specified higher education provider

What business activities qualify?

Interested individuals will need to show how their proposed complying entrepreneur activity will economically benefit the country.

A complying entrepreneur activity is an innovative idea that will bring a new service or product to market, or the development of a business in Australia (activities relating to real estate or labour hire are excluded).

To apply for the entrepreneur visa, you will need to have an agreement for at least $200,000 in funding from one or more of the following sources:

  • Commonwealth agencies
  • State and territory governments
  • Publicly funded research organisations
  • Investors registered as venture capital limited partnerships or early stage venture capital limited partnerships

The funding agreement must involve the transfer of at least 10% of the funds within 12 months of commencing the activity in Australia.

What you need to do before applying for the 188E

Before applying for the 188e, you will need to be nominated by an Australian State or Territory government.

This involves lodging an expression of interest (eoi) through the skillselect system.

Where you can apply for the 188E

You can apply for this visa overseas or in Australia.

If you apply for the 188E in Australia you will need to hold a substantive visa or a bridging A, B or C visa.