The Australian 188 Business Visa is a class of Australian visas that provide the applicant temporary residence in Australia.This visa also allows you to own and manage a business in Australia as well as undertake entrepreneurial activity in Australia.
Like all Australian visas, the Australian 188 Business visas require you to meet specified criteria before you can qualify.
Once you have fulfilled these criteria and have commenced residence under the 188 temporary business visa class, you may be eligible to apply for the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888).
Award of the subclass 888 visa will give you permanent residency in Australia which makes the 188 Business Visa an attractive option as it represents a pathway to Australian PR.
Australian 188 Visa streams
The 188 Visa is broken into two separate streams; 188A, the Business Innovation stream and 188B, the Investor stream, both streams have slightly different requirements.
As this visa type has a greater focus on your business and investments, the application process for the 188 Visa is not straight forward.
You’ll see yourself required to submit numerous financial reports, evaluation reports, and auditing reports to support your visa application. It’s extremely important that you get this process right, or you risk having your application refused!
On the subject of refusals, this visa type can be refused at two points of the application process.
Firstly, you must receive a nomination as a result of your Expression Of Interest (EOI) submission. One nominated, the Australian state or territory government can refuse your application if it doesn’t meet all of their requirements.
Secondly, once you have received your nomination, the Department of Home Affairs will review your application. If they are not satisfied that it meets all their criteria, they may issue a refusal at this point as well.
This list below serves to outlines specific areas where 188 business visa applicants often fall short of the core visa requirements.
Consider using this article as a checklist to ensure your application has the maximum chance of being approved if you are not 100% certain. Seek the guidance of a professional migration agent.
Common 188A Business Innovation stream Application Errors
1) Poor calculation of Expression of Interest (EOI) points, resulting in the minimum threshold of 65 points not being met.
This happens more than you would think. A common example is where a 188A visa applicant automatically assumed that their overseas educational qualifications could give them extra points. Despite this, their qualifications may not meet Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) requirements which in turn will impact the number of points received against the applicant’s education/qualifications.
2) You have previously declared bankruptcy (or have been involved in a business that has declared bankruptcy) and have not adequately explained the circumstances behind the bankruptcy as part of your visa application.
If you have experienced bankruptcy or been involved in a failed business or investment, you must demonstrate this as part of your visa application. Australian immigration officers will take this into account as part of their assessment. Failure to disclose the bankruptcy information may cause your character to be called into question.
3) The business has been losing money, and you don’t provide an explanation
If your business has been historically running at a loss, you will need to explain the reasons why and the likelihood of the business being successful in the long term.
4) Current annual turnover is under AUD500,000
The minimum requirement for the Business innovation stream is that the applicant must have an ownership interest in the main business with an annual turnover of at least AUD 500 000 for 2 financial years.
5) The ownership of the company does not cover the previous two fiscal years
You need to be the owner of the business for at least two whole financial years, not calendar years.
6) You are not involved in the daily management of the business
You must exercise your responsibilities within the business/businesses continuously, such as responsibility for employees and responsibility for expenditure. Being a silent partner in a company will not help your case for an Australian Business visa.
7) Your company turnover is not supported by Evidence such as Tax Lodgements
To obtain a reasonable level of assurance on the viability of the business, the Department will always take into account the factor as to whether the reported turnover is corroborated by tax documents.
8) Less than 3 business orders every year
You will need to provide evidence that the business is active. The best way to do that is to demonstrate that the business is frequently being engaged by customers and fulfils an absolute minimum of 3 orders or paid engagements per year. Even if the company fulfils 2-3 very lucrative orders per year, it still may not be approved.
9) The ownership of the company is not registered properly
Official supporting documents such as Company Register, Share Register and Business Names Register are required to support your 188 Business Visa application.
10) Personal and business assets are less than AUD800,000
A common scenario is when a property is listed as an asset and the property has not been valued properly. The Department will not consider the value of the property if the property has not been valued properly. You must have your personal assets assessed by the proper authority.
11) Using the wrong exchange rate
It is essential to check the updated exchange rate constantly. The variation of the exchange rate may substantially affect your total personal assets or ownership to meet the minimum requirements. We recommend websites such as http://xe.com for this purpose and reference the date used for your calculations as part of your application process.
12) You are not able to explain the source of funds
In assessing the ownership and source of funds, officers may have enquiries and concerns as to whether the assets of the applicant are lawfully acquired? It’s essential that you can explain and provide relevant evidence, such as historical financial documents and records of assets valuation, acquisition, and disposal.
13) When calculating assets, you fail to use the same day balance. Double counting the assets.
Net assets are calculated on 3 dates. Two at the end of each financial year, another one should be less than 3 months of the application being lodged.
14) Claiming the director’s loan, but not reflecting this on the Balance Sheet
A proper financial report is essential. If you have any loans to the business, it should be reflected in the financial report.
15) The date of SALP is over 3 months before lodgement
Statement of Assets and Liabilities Position (SALP) is a form outlining your net assets. To apply for a business visa, you will need to provide 3 SALPs with the most recent SALP being less than three months old at the time of lodgement.
16) Claiming the value of a property, but not providing an ownership certificate
You must be able to demonstrate sufficient proof (such as an ownership certificate) before you can claim the value of a property.
Common 188B Investor stream Application Errors
17) You have not provided evidence in business management or investment
As part of your 188B Investment application, you must be able to demonstrate that you have had direct involvement in managing a business or eligible investment. Australian immigration officers must take into account whether the applicant has had experience in managing such business / investments so make their jobs easier by making this clear on your application.
18) There is no reference to investment or management in your CV
A detailed resume listing each investment is required for 188B applicants.
19) You do not actively manage the investment. As an example, holding a few properties without providing reasons for long-term possessing.
Holding a few properties for long-term is not sufficient to show your investment skills.
20) Used the calendar year report instead of the financial year
The Department will only assess your annual turnover on the basis of the financial or fiscal year (please check with your local accountant for the definition of the fiscal year).
21) Your Investments are stuck in long term-deposit, insurance, Super/pensions which will mature in more than 2 years
You won’t be able to transfer these investments to Australia by the time your visa is granted, as such, you can’t include monies invested under these categories.
22) The fund for future investment is not shown on the Statement of Assets and Liabilities Position (SALP) form.
Statement of Assets and Liabilities Position (SALP) is a form outlining your net assets. It is important that you ensure that you have captured your future investment in the SALP.
23) You fail to invest 1.5 million within 70 days of receiving Form 1301
24) The 1.5 million investment is not transferred from the applicant or from a company which is not 100% owned by the applicant
It’s essential that you must demonstrate that the 1.5 Million investment is yours. Look to transfer the funds from your overseas account to your Australian account.
If you are not able to do so, you need to keep evidence to demonstrate to the Department you have acquired the fund lawfully.
Are you in the process of applying for your Australian 188 Business Visa and do you have any additional tips to share? Share them with our community, using the comments form below.