When people in Australia hear the word ‘migrant’, it is often associated with some negative connotation. “They’re taking our jobs”, or “they’re not assimilating” or something of the like. A larger conversation has been circling for some years now around temporary work visas and their impact on the national economy; but little is said of the billions of dollars of investment that a smaller group of migrants are bringing into our country, nor the generation of employment opportunities they bring.

These are Australia’s investor-migrants, and they are critical to Australia’s economy.

The Australian investor migration program (known as the ‘Business Innovation and Investment Program, or “BIIP”) makes up a small part of the Australian annual migration intake. 6,862 visa places were allocated to the BIIP in the last migration year, representing only 6.3% of the “skill stream” of Australia’s migration program; but it is worth billions of dollars to Australia’s economy. 

According to a recent consultation paper by the Department of Home Affairs, in the last 8 years since it’s introduction, the subclass 188a and 188c visa alone have brought over $13.1bn of foreign investment into Australia. The subclass 132 Business Talent visa also brings between $200m – $300m per year in investment into Australia. Put together, the program has easily brought more than $15bn AUD into the economy in the last 8 years. 

What’s more, in their application process, applicants for subclass 188a and subclass 132a visas are often required to show evidence of ‘job generation’ for Australian citizens or permanent residents as a part of their business plans. That is to say, that some government bodies mandate that the visa holder’s investments must have a direct correlation to creating jobs in Australia.

This program represents an important part of Australia’s FDI economy, bringing not only capital but also stimulating growth through creating local jobs and acting as a driver for modernisation.

It is for this reason that the recent decision to extend travel restriction exemptions to 188 visa holders is welcomed. These people have often given up their businesses in their home countries, sold their assets and brought their families to Australia where they hope to invest and create new fortunes.

For some time the Migration Institute of Australia (the MIA) made representation to the Department of Home Affairs on the issue, and it is great to see this change. 188 visa holders are now able to make plans to re-enter Australia without having to apply for a travel exemption. People are reminded, however, that some states / territories have their own border closures in place, and we encourage you to contact us before heading to the airport!

Information is available on the Department of Home Affairs website here.