Visa programs facilitate entry

THE Australian Government recognises that business in Australia must have access to skills, ideas and technology from overseas to be successful in today’s increasingly global economy.

This includes the need to bring people to Australia from overseas with different areas of corporate knowledge and technical expertise, for varying periods of time.

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) is responsible for administering business programs and services that recognise the part that business mobility plays in the Australian economy and facilitates these needs with minimum formality.

DIMA has introduced a range of initiatives specifically designed to assist the entry of overseas business people and skilled workers to contribute to Australia’s international competitiveness and business activity.

These business-related programs are broadly divided into two categories of temporary and permanent entry provisions but complement each other to provide a complete service to Australia’s business community.

The vast majority of overseas business people who come to Australia are short term visitors attending conferences and meetings, negotiating and signing contracts, inspecting commercial operations or exploring business opportunities.

Business people interested in longer-term temporary residence are usually seeking to establish business ventures with a view to testing the viability of the enterprise before making a permanent commitment to business life in Australia

A significant and growing number of business people are migrating to Australia on a permanent basis to buy or establish businesses that provide benefits to Australia.

The Business Short Stay Visitor visa is usually valid over a five-year period and allows multiple travel to Australia for stay of up to three months on each occasion.

The Business (Long Stay) Independent Executive visa allows for a stay of up to four years and is designed to enable independent entrepreneurs to buy an existing business or establish a new business in Australia.

Applicants must genuinely intend to maintain an ownership interest in a business in which they have a direct and continuous management role.

The nature of the proposed business must require the presence of the applicant in Australia and the applicant’s background must be consistent with, and relevant to, the business.

Provision exists for such persons to apply to remain permanently in Australia once they have successfully established their business enterprise and can meet other threshold requirements.

The Business Skills Class component of the migration program allows for the entry of business people and investors on a permanent (migrant) basis.

Ongoing monitoring of the achievements of these migrant group shows that, within three years of arrival in Australia, 79 per cent of the business activity generated is in new businesses that create an average of 4.9 new jobs per business. The main applicant countries in this category for 1999/2000 were Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Africa and Malaysia.

The Established Business in Australia (EBA) and Regional Established Business in Australia (REBA) categories of Business Skills migration enable independent business people who have established a business while here on a temporary basis to settle permanently in Australia.

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