Thinking | 24 May 2021

Changes to investment visas

By Eugene Chen and Kai Liu

The Federal Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs last week announced proposed changes to the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) to ‘improve the quality of investments and maximize the economic benefits for Australia’.

The key changes, which are to come into effect from 1 July 2021, are as follows:

  • the investment amount for the Investor stream will increase from $1.5 to $2.5 million, though the Significant Investor stream will remain at $5 million;
  • the complying investment framework will now be applied to both the Investor and Significant Investor streams;
  • the venture capital and private equity component of the complying investment framework will increase from 10 to 20 per cent, and the emerging companies investment will remain at 30 per cent;
  • the balancing investment component will be reduced from 60 to 50 per cent;
  • managed investment schemes which are designed to provide a compliant investment package will need to provide annual independent audit reports showing their compliance with the complying investment framework; and
  • the new instrument will clarify uncertainty in respect of structuring complying investment funds, in particular, the use of ‘fund of funds’, debentures, and derivatives.

The detailed instrument is due to be released shortly.

While we will need to await further details with respect to the usage of funds, debentures, and derivatives, in our view it is long overdue that certainty about what is and is not a complying investment be provided.

Funds managers who provide Investor Visa products to their clients will need to keep abreast of proposed changes to the law. Hall & Wilcox will be able to assist with restructures that are required as further details are provided by the government.

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