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Important Significant Investor Visa (SIV) scheme updates

Significant Investor Visa (SIV) scheme allocation being cut

Australia’s entire Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP), including the Significant Investor Visa (SIV), is under review as the government’s Migration Strategy released in late 2023 confirms no further allocation will be made to this program.

What is the SIV regime?

The current complying investment framework (“Framework”) for SIV is stipulated in the Migration (IMMI 15/100: Complying Investments) Instrument 2015. Only funds that comply with the Framework will constitute complying investments.

Expanded Investment Framework

The Framework extends beyond SIV to the ‘Investor visa’ (IV). IV holders will be required to maintain an investment of $2.5 million in complying investments.

In comparison, the investment requirement of SIV holders is $5 million.

SIV applicants are required to invest at least $5 million in complying investments, which includes:

  • At least $1.0 million in eligible Australian venture capital or growth private equity (VCPE) fund(s) investing in start-up and small private companies;
  • At least $1.5 million in an eligible managed fund(s) or Listed Investment Companies (LICs) that invest in emerging companies;
  • A maximum of $2.5 million of ‘balancing investment’ in managed fund(s) or LICs that invest in a combination of eligible assets that include Australian listed securities, eligible corporate bonds or notes, annuities and real property.

 

The investment requirements of existing SIV holders and applicants before 1 July 2021 are:

  • At least $500,000 in eligible Australian venture capital or growth private equity (VCPE) fund(s) investing in start-up and small private companies;
  • At least $1.5 million in an eligible managed fund(s) or Listed Investment Companies (LICs) that invest in emerging companies;
  • A maximum of $3 million of ‘balancing investment’ in managed fund(s) or LICs that invest in a combination of eligible assets that include Australian listed securities, eligible corporate bonds or notes, annuities and real property.

Other requirements and classifications

  • SIV holders can apply for permanent residence after three years. The SIV validity period is five years.
  • Fund managers of emerging company investments and balancing investments must conduct an annual audit. IV and SIV holders need to attach the audit report to their visa applications.
  • A fund of funds must qualify as a managed investment fund under the SIV regime.
  • Venture capital and private equity investments can be held through fund of funds and investor-directed portfolio services.
  • Certain derivatives, aiming to significantly reduce or eliminate market price risk in emerging companies’ investments, are not allowed.
  • Investments in companies by emerging companies that don’t meet market capitalization requirements are prohibited.
  • SIV and IV holders must enter into venture capital and private equity investment fund agreements within six months of visa grant.

 

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