35% of small businesses of Australia are owned by First-Generation immigrants as reported recently. Taking Australian business opportunities is the popular choice among immigrants for building wealth and getting self-employed.
The businesses operated by the immigrant are concentrated in the fields of professional and business services, such as retail, construction, educational and social services, and leisure and hospitality. Immigrants in Australia most likely own restaurants, doctor’s offices, real-estate firms, groceries, transportation, IT service…
& Visa Options
Visas for business and investor
There are several visa categories available to businesses or investor who wishes to take business opportunities in Australia. The visas are arranged from short-term, mid-term to a permanent visa.
Short-term business visitor visa
Business people planning to enter Australia for a business visit might apply for:
- E-Visitor subclass 651 visa, or;
- Subclass600 Visa under the Business Visitor Stream, or;
- ETA(Electronic Travel Authority) Subclass 601 visa.
Short-term working visa
If Australian business needs a specialist to work for less than 6 weeks, then Short-term work Subclass 400 visa may be the option. Subclass 400 visa allows a specialist working in a highly specialised business area and this special work is a non-ongoing in nature.
Mid-term working visa
A business operating in Australia, or a business operating in other countries that wish to establish an entity in Australia, may sponsor overseas workers to Australia on a Subclass 482 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa. The visa applicant must have a skill that is on skilled occupation list, or the employer has a labour agreement with the Australian government for a specific occupation.
The visa holders can work only for the business that sponsored them for up to four years. The visa holder must have an annual salary not less than AU$53,900.00 (rates for 2018) or market salary rate.
Permanent visas for employee of a business
An established Australian business might sponsor overseas worker permanently to Australia through subclass 186 or 187 visa scheme. The visa applicant must has a skill that is assessed as one of the occupations on skilled occupation list. The alternative of occupations for workers must be agreed by labor agreement with Australian government.
186 or187 visa holders must work for sponsor for at least 2 years with a market salary package identified by market testing.
Permanent visas for business owners or investors
Business people might start their own business, manage a new or existing business, or invest in Australia through the following “business migrant visa”:
- Subclass188 -business provisional visa for up to 6 years
- Subclass888 – business permanent visa;
- Subclass132- business talent permanent visa;
- Startup business visa (initialed by South Australia, has not yet come into force).
All business or investment visa will need to be sponsored by a state government in Australia.
Approval for foreign Investment or business
In most cases, a foreign person or entity will only need to notify the Treasurer of their investment if the amount of investment is under certain monetary thresholds.
If the investment exceeds the monetary thresholds, this may require approval from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
Who needs FIRB approval?
Certain non-resident investors will need to notify FIRB when buying, or acquiring an interest of 20% or more, in a business valued at over $252 million.
This requirement is only for foreign investors and temporary residents and doesn’t apply to:
- Australian citizens.
- Australian expats.
- New Zealand citizens.
- Permanent residents (PR).
What is a sensitive business in FIRB?
Also, foreign investment are subject to the approval for sensitive businesses.
At the moment, sensitive business is the businesses that have anything to do with the Australian military, security technologies and communications systems, plutonium and uranium exploration, and the operation of nuclear facilities.
Real estate purchase by a foreigner
The acquisition of interests in Australian real estate (including interests that arise via leases, financing and profit-sharing arrangements) will need FIRB approval.
Once approved, foreign investors or business are generally treated the same as domestic investors under Australia’s laws.
Licenses for foreign business or investment
Business in Australia is regulated by many levels of Australian government authority simultaneously. The foreign Business or investor might need their Australian licenses, permits, approvals, registrations to start a business as well as meet codes of practice and standards to run a business.
Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) provide a guide on how many licences or registrations are required for your specific business. Generally, license approval will take a considerable time.
Grants to small business in Australia
Every year the Australian government sets aside billions of dollars to help businesses small or large. Literally there are hundreds of grants provided to different businesses. You can check out Grant from all states of Australia for details.
Such grants for small businesses, for example, is through the $20,000 Asset Write Off and tax cuts for businesses generating turnovers of under $50M. Many small exporting businesses generally is entitled to grants. We list a few of grants, please check out 10 subsidies to Australian business you must know.
The grants generally is a temporary incentive for business, it changes from time to time. To see whether your business is qualified for certain grants, you need to look into the details of each grants with a professional analysis.
The Ultimate e-Guide for Immigrant Business success
Much of the frustrations from immigrant in business are not necessary and can be avoided.
If you are finding it difficult and time-consuming to understand and operate a business in Australia, The Ultimate e-Guide for Immigrant Business Success will provide some guidance.