Investment Visas

Australia: Limited Rooms in 2020-21 so NOW is the Time to Act!

Australia has limited rooms in 2020-21 so now is the time to act.

2020 is proving to be an exciting year for those who wish to invest and stay. Now is not the time to sit and wait for announcements and believe you can do it all after Christmas.

The vast majority of investment visa candidates for 2020-21 are already in Australia as we can reasonably not expect to see large numbers of people relocating to Australia until international borders open which we do not see happening before 1 July 2021.

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The Process

The process remains complex and can be summarised as

  • the migration advisor decides if the party is an appropriate candidate for an investment visa and determines the category or categories available to the applicant based on several other criteria including age, education, wealth, health, family and language skills.
  • The candidate identifies business opportunities. (They can also get assistance with this.)
  • The party prepares a business case in line with the known preferences of the states and territories, and consistent with the guidelines issued by Canberra (Department of Homeland Affairs (DHA)).
  • The applicant and their advisers submit a business case and get support from an early stage venture capital fund (ESVCF).

 

  • The applicant with their letter of commitment from the ESVCF seeks state or territory nomination. Each of the states and territories has clear preferences as the areas in which they wish to see investment.
  • Once they have achieved sponsorship from a state or territory, they make an application to DHA for a Visa. In most cases they are required to commence the process before the Visa is granted. Candidates are generally already on a bridging visa.

This all takes time. Our experience is that the preparation of the business case to get approval by a ESVCF alone takes 3 to 4 months.

Recent Events

The recent budget announcements must be seen in the background of Australia continuing to seek to be internationally competitive.

A critical measure in this has been the general reduction in the marginal rate of tax paid by most Australians.

Secondly, over successive years the government has sought to bring down the company tax rate especially for small business.

It is also important to remember that Australia is one of the few countries in the world where an individual can claim tax credits, for tax is paid by companies to provide them with a dividend. We call this franking.

Thirdly, over many years Australia has been prudently managed and continues to enjoy an AAA credit rating from the three major ratings agencies.

 

Australia has enjoyed ongoing political stability and has a strong sense of the social contract within the social structure.

Australia’s major political parties are by international standards centre-right and centre-left. During Covid-19 we have effectively seen a unity government with the government’s budget measures passed within four days.

By international standards Australia has only being moderately impacted by Covid-19 but the economic consequences of strict health policies continue to be of concern. Both the recent budget and Australia’s migration policy reflect all these facts.

Each of the states and territories is seeking investment visa applicants who establish new enterprises and create meaningful and well-paying jobs.

Victoria requires a special declaration of not more than 200 words explain the contribution to the Victorian economy from an investment visas applicants project.

I suspect New South Wales who is now only receiving applications based on an invitation from the State’s Treasury will be even more demanding.

Nevertheless, each state and territory, in practice, not only requires a submission that a presentation and this needs to ensure the visa applicant is making a meaningful contribution to the respective state or territory.

The role of Venture Capital

It is important to understand that most investment visa applicants require support from an ESVCF.

Such support is not likely given as investment visa applicants need to compete with many other good projects coming from other sources, including the commercialisation of university and CSIRO concepts and foreign businesses seeking an early listing on the ASX.

An applicant for funding from an early stage venture capital fund needs to present their idea in a summary form and as they progress a discussion with the venture capital fund to get commitment to invest, they need a series of documents.

Most discussions with the venture capital fund begin with a warm introduction from such a one like Graham Kinder from Rivergold Capital, introducing the client’s project.

What they are doing is introducing a company which has the project but in practice investors may invest in companies but they are heavily reliant on the team that will deliver.

What is important for Investment Visa applicants is that they understand that their investment process is, from a Venture Capitalists perspective, the same as other investors and investment opportunities. In short, investment visa applicants benefit equally from the changes in the general investment environment and investment visa applicants can invest with others providing they have 30% of the project company.

 

Working with Projects RH and the team

To get the meeting with the venture capital fund we generally prepare five documents and make a short video.

 

The documents are:

  • A business plan
  • a financial model
  • an information memorandum
  • a pitch deck – which is a series of slides; and
  • a one-page summary called a teaser.

 

In practice the process is the same whether the client is raising $200,000 or $20 million dollars.

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Preferred Investments

We think the budget is providing a once in a generation opportunity for new businesses to receive support for the development of new business ideas which will create good jobs for people in Australia.

I think it is clear that the states want those jobs in their state which is only human.

What is also clear is that the Commonwealth government´s budget is looking at a number of areas for support including:

  1. AgTech
  2. Space and Advanced Manufacturing
  3. FinTech
  4. Energy and Mining Technology
  5. MedTech
  6. Cyber Security
  7. Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT

In turn the states and territories have looked at their own strengths within these and indicated where they feel their state excels and they can and support, for example Victoria has made it very clear is looking at

  • digital technologies
  • advanced manufacturing
  • health and life sciences
  • agri-food
  • new energy and emissions reduction
  • circular economy
  • targeted industries like health in Parkville

it is important to understand that other opportunities will not be excluded but that opportunities that meet the criteria mentioned above will be preferred.

 

Help from the Budget

The budget introduced specific measures targeted at critical areas such as supply chain logistics, modern manufacturing but also saw millions sent to the CSIRO and the universities to undertake research which needs to be commercialized.

Equally there are general measures such as $2 billion for research and development, immediate tax write-off for equipment and project development.

More importantly new business will be entitled to an 18.5% tax refund on investment made in R&D in project development.

For business other initiatives include wage subsidies for those under 35 and higher for those under 30+ a payment of up to 50% of the wages of those undertaking vocational education.

2020’s Budget is a wonderful opportunity for those who are in Australia to invest and stay.

Most of them are here because they have been undertaking some form of training and have improved their English language skills.

The people who have come to Australia are generally entrepreneurial and go-getting.

I agree that this is a wonderful opportunity for such people who are eligible to apply for investment visas and may confine their lives in Australia.

We believe that there is a recognition that if new investment is to create 50,000 new jobs out of the 950,000 jobs that are to be created as a result of the budget measures that those jobs to be created by investment Visa applicants will form a critical part of the numbers.

I think this broad support includes the support of the states which is essential for Visa applicants.

Australia’s population is expected to shrink unless we can grow by migration.

Many of the initiatives of the Commonwealth government are based on the belief that the economy will grow over the next decade by migration, and therefore we need to build more infrastructure now.

The available spots for new migrants are 160,000, the same number as was taken up last year.

After you allow 72,000 places for Partner visas, and 15,000 for talented visas then 13,500 for business and investment visas, there aren’t many places left especially when remember there is always a quota for selected skills and refugees.

 

The Process

Migration advisers such as RC Australia are increasingly seeing the best way for people to come and stay in Australia is through an investment visa.

In reading government advice, it is strongly recommended that applicants work with a registered migration advisor.

Projects RH is not a registered migration agent and does not give migration advice but we do believe working with an experienced migration advisor such as RC Australia can save applicants both time and money.

We believe what we are seeing is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people to come and invest and stay in Australia.

Australia’s political leaders in a non-partisan manner want to see investment and jobs created.

We recognise training, research, job subsidies and the provision of infrastructure are all important.

Yet, the critical thing are the business investors and entrepreneurs who create the jobs in the private sector, which in turn will employ our trained and talented people and will commercialise the research which is being undertaken.

This will provide Australia with the necessary future income to sustain our economy and lifestyle. The essential ingredient in this is the entrepreneurs and Australia are looking also overseas to find these people.

Conclusion

Australia’s history is characterised by foreign investment in waves of migration. It is often those who are brave enough to migrate to a new country who also have the ability to be leaders and entrepreneurs.

Australia is looking to those people to stand up and seize the opportunity.

 

Applying for investment Visa does require expert advice. RC Australia is one of the parties that can provide you with guidance as to whether you fit into an investment Visa and in so which. Projects RH with our strategic partners at The Business Planning Company, RiverGold Capital, Clever Finance Solutions, Y&S Accountants, The Link Group and Floc’h International can put the package together which will enable you to seek support from an early stage venture capital fund, and state nomination before applying to Homeland Affairs for your visa.

We believe any applicant who wishes to become an Australian by the investment visa process should act now as time will not be their friend.

This especially true for those already in Australia as their existing visa will expire in due course.

Our experience at Projects RH is that most investment visa applicants are made of the “right stuff” to get their projects to work.

For those who needs assistance in finding a project our strategic partners and network can find a suitable project for most candidates.

Paul Raftery. CEO, Projects RH – October 29, 2020

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