A Quick Guide to the Business Visa Australia Program

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Do you dream of building your business in Australia for the long-term? The Business Visa Australia pathway offers an opportunity for you to legally engage in business activities in Australia – and with a chance to secure permanent residency.

While there are other business visa options, the primary visa that allows you to legally set up your own business or make investments in Australia is the Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment Visa. 

Hence, this blog will centre on the 188 visa. Read on to know more about the visa requirements and steps to apply.

Australia Business Visa Pathways

To legally set up your own business or make investments or engage in short-term business activities Australia, you must a hold a business visa. Here are the business visa pathways available.

Business Innovation and Investment Visa (Subclass 188)

2024 Updates:

The Business visa will be closed to new applications on July 2024. Holders of the provisional 188 visa who are eligible for the permanent 888 visa may continue on this pathway after July 2024.

The business visa pathway is for people who want to put up a new business in Australia or develop and manage existing ones. This visa may also be granted to those looking to invest in Australian businesses.

Apart from investment opportunities and entrepreneurial freedom, this pathway gives applicants the chance to achieve permanent residency. Here’s how it generally works:

  1. Apply for the provisional Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment visa in one of these streams:
  • Business Innovation stream (188a)

This stream is suited for those who want to operate new or existing businesses. You can stay for up to 5 years with this visa.

  • Investor stream (188b)

This is suited for those willing to invest at least AUD 2.5 million into complying investments in Australia and maintain business activity. Visa holders can stay up to 5 years.

  • Significant Investor stream (188c)

This is suited for those who are willing to invest at least AUD 5 million in Australia. Visa holders can stay up to 5 years.

  • Entrepreneur stream (188e)

This is for those who have received endorsement from their nominating state/territory government agency to develop and carry out entrepreneurial activities. This visa is valid for up to 5 years.

  1. After holding your temporary visa for at least 3 years and meeting all specific requirements, you can apply for the permanent Subclass 888 Business Innovation and Investment visa.

Other Business Visa Options

State or Territory Sponsored Investor Visa (Subclass 893) 

The Subclass 893 visa is a pathway to permanent residency for holders of the provisional State/Territory Sponsored Investor visa (Subclass 165). Currently, the 165 visa is closed to new applications. 

To be eligible, applicants must have resided in the state/territory of their sponsoring authority for at least 2 years and maintained a designated investment of at least AUD 750,000 for at least 4 years.

Business Visitor Visa (Subclass 600)

The business stream of the subclass 600 is for those who need to engage in general business or short-term employment activities in Australia. These include:

  • attending conferences or seminars
  • reviewing, negotiating or signing contracts
  • attending official government business events

This visa is valid for up to 3 months.

Business Visa Requirements for Australia

The general requirements below apply to Business Innovation and Investment Visa (subclass 188) applications. These are as follows:

  • After submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI), an Australian State/Territory must accept your EOI and invite you to apply for the visa.
  • The nominating State/Territory must not withdraw their nomination after you apply for a business visa.
  • You must have the means to own and manage a business, make significant investments or engage in entrepreneurial activities (This depends on the 188 visa stream you’re applying for).
  • You must achieve a score of at least 65 on the points test (Only applies to 188a and 188b visa applications).
  • You must possess the required level of English skills:
    • Functional English for 188a, 188b and 188c visas
    • Competent English for 188e visa
  • You must be under 55 years of age (not applicable to 188c visa applications).
  • You must not have been involved in any business or investment activities considered unacceptable in Australia.
  • You must meet Australia’s health and character requirements.

Make sure to check each 188 visa stream for specific requirements you must comply with.

Australia Business Visa Minimum Investment

For certain streams under the Business Innovation and Investment visa, applicants must be able to invest an amount that meets the required minimum for Australian investments. Refer to the table below:

Visa streamMinimum investment
188b visa – Investor streamAUD 2.5 million
188c visa – Significant Investor streamAUD 5 million
188d visa – Premium Investor stream*AUD 15 million

*The 188d visa is closed to new applications.

How to Apply for a Business Visa in Australia

To apply for the 188 business visa:

  1. Determine which visa streams suits your situation.
  1. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) via SkillSelect.
  1. Receive an invitation to apply for from the Department of Home Affairs. You must lodge your application within 60 days.
  1. Prepare and submit your visa application via the ImmiAccount.

This online portal would guide you through the information you must provide, as well as the supporting documents you must submit like identity documents, police clearances, evidence of assets, investment plans and so on.

If you have further questions about ImmiAccount, read our guide on how to create an ImmiAccount.

  1. Wait for the visa decision.

In this period, the Department might ask you to provide further information and submit other requirements, biometrics for instance.

Once granted, you should regularly perform a VEVO check to stay informed about the conditions attached to your visa.

Business Visa Cost and Processing Times

The table below shows the visa costs and processing times for Australian business visas. All data is current as of writing:

Business VisaVisa CostProcessing Time
50% of applications90% of applications
Subclass 188aBusiness Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa – Business Innovation streamAUD 9,45036 months51 months
Subclass 188bBusiness Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa – Investor streamAUD 9,45039 months53 months
Subclass 188cBusiness Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa – Significant Investor streamAUD 13,860.0027 months34 months
Subclass 188eBusiness Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa – Entrepreneur streamAUD 6,395.0016 months23 months
Subclass 888aBusiness Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa – Business Innovation streamAUD 3,3107 months25 months
Subclass 888bBusiness Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa – Investor streamAUD 3,31018 months34 months
Subclass 888cBusiness Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa – Significant Investor streamAUD 3,3107 months34 months
Subclass 888eBusiness Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa – Entrepreneur streamAUD 3,310NANA
Subclass 893State or Territory Sponsored Investor VisaAUD 2,810NANA
Subclass 600Visitor Visa – Business Visitor streamAUD 1906 days18 days

Need Help With Your Business Visa Application?

Instead of dealing with visa paperwork and worrying about delays, you could have already come up with grand plans for your business’s success… 

At KBA Global, we’ll handle all the legalities, details and communication with authorities, saving you time and energy. With over 10 years of industry experience, we aim to be your trusted partner as you take great leap in your business journey.

Book a free consultation with one of our agents today!

Disclaimer: The above information is a general guide and not professional immigration advice. Be aware that immigration laws and regulations can change swiftly, potentially rendering some or all of the information outdated. Thus, before using the information above, we recommend checking the current laws through assistance from a migration agent or the Department of Home Affairs website.