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Published on October 15th, 2012 | by john.weir

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Golden ticket to get into Australia

If you’ve got £3.5 million lying around the house, then good news; you could soon be living in Australia.

Queensland has announced a “significant investor visa” ,designed to woo wealthy migrants, especially from Asia.

And Queensland is expected to be a popular destination, with increasing interest in the resources sector, tourism and commercial real estate from rich Chinese and Indians especially.

To qualify, applicants will have to commit at least $5 million to approved investments such as stakes in private Australian companies; managed funds with investments in infrastructure projects, real estate (including farms) or listed companies; or state government bonds.

Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government. Treasurer Tim Nicholls has vowed to relax Queensland’s “onerous” visa criteria, which last year resulted in the state filling just 14 per cent of Australia’s skilled migration spots, but has not formulated criteria for the new scheme.

Successful applicants will be given priority for immigration under the Commonwealth Government’s Business Innovation and Investment category and excused from the normal points system, language requirement and age limit.

When he flagged the scheme earlier this year, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said it would help refocus the business skills visa program to a new calibre of applicant.

“Until now, the program has frankly advantaged businesses like takeaways and small retail outlets,” he said.

“We want to select business migrants with a good track record of entrepreneurship.”

Tim Wiedman, a partner with McCullough Robertson lawyers in Brisbane specialising in managed investments, said the speed of processing applicants would be important if Australia was to gain an advantage.

The potential pool is enormous. China now has more than 560,000 millionaires. The China Private Wealth Report by business consultants Bain last year said 47 per cent of Chinese people with at least $15 million in assets were considering investment immigration.

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