In a bid to attract foreign investment it has been the policy of both Australia and New Zealand to allow wealthy entrepreneurs gain visas in exchange for large investment. Australia has for some year had what has been dubbed the ‘golden visa’ which allows those investing over AUS$5m to gain permanent residency.
The visas were introduced back in 2012 and since then over 1500 have taken advantage of the visa class to take up residency in Australia. Unlike New Zealand where a number of these wealthy investors are from the United States most of the Australian investors – almost 90% of them – are from China, Hong Kong. Others come from Malaysia, South Africa and Vietnam.
Due to the success of this policy the Australian government has now introduced another scheme known as the Premium Investor Scheme whereby “Highly talented and entrepreneurial individuals” can apply with investments required of at last Aus$15m. It is hoped that this scheme will continue to attract wealthy investors from around the globe looking at investment opportunities in Australia although not everyone is happy with the new regulations.
As in New Zealand these visas have been controversial with opponents saying they do little to drive investment in business and push property prices ever higher. Further opponents in Australia cite money laundering from corrupt Chinese. Visa applicants are not required to pass any English test – unlike other visa categories and there is no upper age limit. However keen to attract wealthy investors the Australian government has no plans to change this visa category, unlike many of the other categories which are seeing wholesale change.