If you are an entrepreneur or startup founder wanting to establish your business in Australia, you may have heard of the ' entrepreneur visa'. This refers to the entrepreneur stream of the business innovation and investment (provisional) visa (subclass 188). This visa allows you to undertake entrepreneurial activity and stay in Australia for up to five years. Afterwards, you have the option to become a permanent resident. This article will discuss the entrepreneur visa eligibility requirements and provide tips on how to meet funding requirements.
To be eligible for the entrepreneur visa, you must submit an expression of interest (EOI) to the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) via SkillSelect. If the relevant State or Territory government accepts your EOI and nominates you, you will receive an invitation from the DOHA to apply for this visa.
You must also ensure that your proposed activity is a 'complying entrepreneur activity'. This is defined as an activity that relates to an innovative idea that will lead to either the:
However, this activity must not relate to:
To demonstrate to the government that you meet this requirement, you must submit a written business plan. Within this proposal, you must outline your intention to commercialise or develop your innovative idea in Australia.
While there is no clear definition of 'innovative idea', the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection stated in 2016 that the visa:
“will be available for emerging entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and financial backing to develop their ideas in Australia.”
The entrepreneur visa statistics show that, in the 2017-2018 financial year, only three entrepreneurship visas were granted in New South Wales.
From 1 July 2021, if you receive an invitation to apply for the entrepreneur visa, you do not need to demonstrate that you have or will receive funding of $200,000. However, this may still be a requirement of the relevant State or Territory government agency that nominates you.
For example, suppose you want NSW to nominate you for this visa. In that case, you must demonstrate that you have secured adequate funding from an approved entity to complete the entrepreneur activity.
An approved entity is a:
Commonly, entrepreneurs obtain Australian funding through investors registered as AVCLP or ESVCLP. These are registered venture capital funds that Australian Government programs support.
Like many entrepreneurs and startup founders, you may feel lost on where to start looking for funding. Further, this process can be especially tricky if you have no contacts in Australia. Below are three tips on how to go about sourcing venture capital in Australia.
Before contacting investors, make sure that you research and understand their portfolios and target investments. Consider:
You can find a list of registered AVCLP's and ESVCLP's on the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science website.
It is essential you prepare before meeting with a potential investor. This preparation will involve having the relevant documents in place, such as a:
You also need to outline details including:
Approaching and meeting a potential investor face to face can go a long way. If you have the opportunity to visit Australia, make sure to attend one of the many networking events that are targeted at entrepreneurs and startups. Otherwise, a friendly message via LinkedIn could also be beneficial.
Also, do not forget to follow up on any personal contacts or networks that you have in Australia.
To be eligible for this visa, you must also:
On the whole, if you are a foreign entrepreneur with an innovative idea that you want to commercialise in Australia, the entrepreneurship visa might be right for you. To meet eligibility requirements, you must also consider the relevant State or Territory nomination criteria, which could include obtaining adequate funding and participating in an entrepreneur program. When sourcing funding for the entrepreneur visa, you should:
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