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WA closing migrant gap

WA HAS increased its market share of business migration in the first half of this financial year.

Recently released figures for July to December show WA’s share of business migrants increased by 3 per cent to 23 per cent.

New South Wales held onto its top position but recorded only 1 per cent growth to 36 per cent, while Queensland’s share fell 4 per cent to 14 per cent and Victoria’s dropped 3 per cent to 16 per cent.

During the six months reviewed, seventy-two business migrant visas were approved for WA.

Approximately 90 per cent of these approvals were from South East Asia which is WA’s traditional primary source of business migrants. A further 5 per cent came from the UK.

Statistics from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs indicate that, after three years in Australia, business migrants achieved the following results:

• 84 per cent were engaged in business with 79 per cent of the businesses being new

• An average 4.9 jobs were created per new business

• An average of $914,319 was transferred into Australia by each business migrant

• An average $317,923 was invested in a business by each migrant engaged in business

• 12 per cent of migrant businesses had a turnover of more than $1 million

• 65 per cent of migrant businesses exported goods and or services.

Small Business Development Corporation managing director Georege Etrelezis said both the SBDC and the Department of Commerce & Trade, through its overseas offices, acted as business migration agents for WA.

The SBDC’s Skills Migration Program helps migrants make a smooth transition to a new business and lifestyle environment, while the overseas offices of Commerce & Trade act as points of contact.

Mr Etrelezis said the SBDC also had a more direct influence when potential migrants visited WA on temporary visas.

“We can give them both a social and economic picture of WA,” he said.

The SBDC will be launching an improved program to attract business migrants on 30 March.

Besides the government agencies, CEC director Peter Edwards said independent migration consultants such as himself were covering a lot of miles to conduct seminars.

Mr Edwards said there was fierce competition between the states to attract business migrants.

He said WA would continue to grow in business migration, particularly if the government relaxed its hold on Chinese business migrants.

Currently it is very hard for Chinese to prove they meet the criteria to for business migration.

Traditionally, the Australian Embassy in China has had problems gaining enough documentation from the Chinese to prove a person’s case.

There is also the difficulty of translating documents in both language and accounting terms.

Now Chinese applicants have to show documentation meeting Australian accounting standards which can be an expensive process.

To qualify as a business migrant, a person has to demonstrate four years of audited success in running a business.

The person must also meet age

criteria, English language requirements and personal asset checks.

Mr Edwards said the potential migrant had to have a broad realistic plan for a business in Australia.

“Some come in on temporary visas without the Business Owners Category,” he said.

“There is a risk element to that. If their business efforts don’t come to fruition, they can be sent back.”

Business migrants must have a significant shareholding in any business and there must be a significant Australian staff component.

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