Australia recently announced that changes to the visa system are on the cards. These changes come as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda said the Australian Department of Border Control and Immigration in a press statement.
The Department necessitated certain changes in an effort to attract and retain the best and brightest foreign entrepreneurial talent and the skilled, talented people Australia needs to drive ideas from research to commercial reality.
On 10 September 2016, Australia launched a new Entrepreneur visa stream and amended the points test for the skilled migration programme.
The Entrepreneur visa is part of the Business Innovation and Investment visa programme. Entrepreneurs interested in applying for the Entrepreneur visa will need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in SkillSelect and be nominated by a State or Territory government.
• Applicants must be undertaking, or proposing to undertake, an entrepreneurial venture in Australia.
• The entrepreneurial venture must not be related to residential real estate or labour hire or involve purchasing an existing business or franchise.
• Applicants must also be under 55 years of age, have a competent level of English, and have at least 30 per cent interest in their entrepreneurial venture.
• There must be one or more funding agreements in place for at least $200,000 between the entrepreneur or venture and a third party funding body or bodies.
• Sources of third party funding are limited to state and territory governments, Commonwealth agencies, Publicly Funded Research Organisations, and investors registered as a Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (VCLP) or Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (ESVCLP). Agreements outlining funds from a combination of these sources are also acceptable.
• Applicants must have a business plan outlining their plans for their venture in Australia.
An Entrepreneur visa holder can progress to permanent residency after four years if they can meet a measure of success, which includes factors such as business turnover, employment of Australians and ability to obtain significant financial backing.
The amendment to the points test will enhance the pathway to permanent residence for students who have completed Doctoral or Masters by research-level qualifications in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) or specified information and communication technology (ICT) related fields in Australia.
The current points test will be amended to award additional points for Doctorate and Masters by research-level qualifications gained from Australian universities in STEM, specified ICT and other related fields.
The following fields of education qualifications are proposed to be accepted under this new measure and are defined by the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS):
Field of Education:
Natural and Physical Sciences
Other Natural and Physical Sciences
Physics and Astronomy
Other Information Technology
Aerospace Engineering and Technology
Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Technology
Engineering and Related Technologies
Manufacturing Engineering and Technology
Maritime Engineering and Technology
Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Technology
Other Engineering and Related Technologies
Process and Resources Engineering.