Subclass 188 visa eligibility criteria, streams, requirements and application process

188 Visa is a temporary Business Innovation and Investment Visa issued to foreigners who plan on investing in Australia, run their business there, or open a new business.

For a business visa 188, you must have a specific amount of personal and business funds and you must be invited before you can apply.

Australia Business Innovation and Investment Provisional Visa Streams

Business innovation and investment visa 188 has several streams available for applicants:

  • Business Innovation Stream. This stream is suitable for young entrepreneurs who want to open a new business in Australia or who already run a business. In order to qualify for this business stream, you must have a specific number of points on the points test (see below).
  • Investor Stream. For this visa stream, you are required to run business and investment activities in Australia. In addition to the points test, you must also invest AUD2.5 million in an Australian State or Territory.
  • Significant Investor Stream. If you want to apply for this business visa stream, you must be either nominated by an Australian State or Territory or a government agency. You must also invest AUD5 million, this is known as the complying investment.
  • Entrepreneur Stream. You are required to complete entrepreneurial activities in Australia and have a funding agreement for your business activities.

Who Can Apply for a Business Visa 188?

In order to qualify for a business visa 188 you must:

  • Be nominated by an Australian State or Territory before you can be invited.
  • Two years before you are invited to apply, you must have had ownership in one or two businesses that had at least AUD750,000 income in each year (of the two years).
  • You must own at least:
    • 51% of the business if the business brings less than AUD400,000 per year.
    • 30% of the business if the business has an income of AUD400,000 or more per year.
    • 10% of the business if the business is run by a publicly listed company.
  • You must have personal and business assets of at least AUD1.25 million.
  • Have a lucrative business career.
  • Be under the age of 55.
  • You are eligible for your investor stream if:
    • For a year during the 5 years before you are invited to apply, you or your partner have had at least 10% ownership in a qualifying business or an investment of AUD1.5 million.
    • Have assets valued at AUD2.25 million.
    • Must make an investment of AUD1.5 million in the state or territory that nominated you for the visa.
    • You must have at least three years of experience in managing a business or investments and have a number of successful investments.
  • In order to get the significant investor stream you are required to:
    • Invest at least AUD5 million and have genuine intention to hold that investment for at least 4 years.
  • For the premium stream investment you must:
    • Submit an expression of interest at Austrade then Austrade will provide you with an invitation.
    • You must make an investment of at least AUD15 million.
    • You must have a net asset valued at least AUD15 million.
  • For the entrepreneur stream you have to:
    • Provide an expression of interest.
    • Be nominated by an Australian State, Territory, or government institution.
    • Must be involved in entrepreneurial activity in Australia and have a genuine intention to continue the activity.
    • Must receive funding of at least AUD200,000 from an approved party.

Document Checklist for Business Visa 188

You must submit a number of documents supporting your business visa 188 application:

  • A copy of the pages from your recent passport.
  • An outline of your business plans and goals in Australia (a description of your research or study in appropriate sectors, an outline of your investment activities, etc.)
  • Bank statements showing your net value of the business and personal assets.
  • Proof that you own a business at the time of the application.
  • Proof that you have managed your business (made essential decisions, involved yourself in day-to-day activities, etc.)
  • Your business license proving that your business is registered.
  • Evidence that you partially own the business.
  • Financial statements prepared by an independent accountant according to international accounting standards. Your documents must include a balance sheet, profit, and loss statement and cover:
    • Records from two fiscal years before you are invited to apply for business visa 188.
    • Any other fiscal year from 4 years before you are invited to apply for visa 188.
  • A detailed one-page chart showing your position in the company, staff members, responsibilities, and so on.
  • Six photographs of your business place (building, set up, and so on).
  • Evidence that you, your partner, or both together have a total of personal assets of AUD800,000. You must transfer these assets within a two-year period after you get visa 188, and you must specify the transfer date 3 months before you apply for the visa.
  • Form 1139A for your statement of assets and liabilities position (SALP).
  • You must provide any proof of ownership for every asset, its value, and any liabilities.
  • Points test documents.
  • Proof that you have a functional level of English language.
  • Evidence that you are of fine character. Attached to your character documents you must also provide form 80 for your character assessment and personal particulars assessment.
  • In case you assign someone to receive communication for the visa application, then you must provide this form, but, if a migration agent is helping you then submit form 956.
  • You are also recommended to obtain adequate health insurance during your stay in Australia, and you may be asked to submit proof that you don’t have any serious illnesses.
  • Details of losses or insolvency if it’s applicable.
  • Sign Australia’s values statement.
  • If you are applying with family members you must also include:
    • Your partner’s identity documents.
    • Marriage certificate or evidence of relationship.
    • Copies of your children’s birth certificates (if you are applying with your children).
    • Copies of adoption papers (if applicable).
    • Parental consent or a statutory declaration.
    • Proof of dependency, form 47a, if you are bringing children over 18 years old with you.
  • For the investor stream please include these as well:
    • A list of all funds in your latest form of statements of assets and liabilities position. These funds must be what you intend to use to fund your 1.5 million investment.
    • Prove that you have at least 3 years of owning or managing a business, or proof of owning or managing an eligible investment of AUD1.5 million.
  • For the significant and premium stream, you must provide the following:
    • A detailed description of how you will make your investment and the amounts of each investment.
    • Your assets’ portfolio source of funds. You must sign a declaration listing your fund sources and that they were acquired legally.
  • For the entrepreneur stream:
    • Your funding agreement.
    • A business plan.
    • Proof of your ownership interest in the entrepreneurial activity.

These documents may not all be required for all of the streams within this visa, you can find all the specific requirements as you apply for the visa via the ImmIAccount.

How Do I Apply for a Business Visa 188?

You can apply for this visa by following two steps:

  1. Apply online via ImmiAccount. If you don’t have an ImmiAccount, then open one and submit the visa application form and the required fee. Your application cannot be processed unless you pay the correct fee.
  2. Send your application by post. Once you finish submitting your payment and the visa application form, then you can send your documents to the Adelaide Business Skills Processing Centre. See more on how to prepare your documents.

You must be invited by the Immigration Office to apply for this visa and your invitation letter will contain all the information you need in order to apply.

Please note that if you are applying from Hong Kong, China, Macau, or Taiwan then you must send your documents to the Australian Consulate-General Hong Kong.

Business Visa 188 Points Test

For you to get a business visa 188 you must score at least 65 points on the points test. The points test depends on your qualifications, your skills, and your profile. The Department of Foreign Affairs provides this guideline for the score chart:

The element that is evaluatedDetailsScores
Age18-24 20
55 and over0
English Language ProficiencyVocational English5
Proficient English10
Educational QualificationsBachelor’s, a  degree, or trade certificate issued by an Australian education provider. 5
A Bachelor degree by a recognised educational provider.
A Bachelor degree in business, science, or technology issued by an Australian education provider or by a recognised institution.10
Financial assets Not less than AUD800,000 million5
Not less than AUD1.3 million15
Not less than AUD1.8 million25
Not less than AUD2.25 million35
Business Income (at least 2 of the four fiscal years before you are invited to apply)Not less than AUD500,000 5
Not less than AUD1 million15
Not less than AUD1.5 million25
Not less than AUD2 million 35
Business Experience-Innovation Stream (have or had 1 or more businesses before you were invited to apply for a specified period of time) For four years within the 5 years before your invitation10
For seven years within the eight years before your invitation15
Business Experience- Investor Stream (you held an investment of at least AUD100,000 for a specified amount of time immediately before you apply)For four years10
For seven years15
Business Innovation Qualifications Patents registered and used daily in the main business for a year before the application/invitation15
Trademarks registered and used daily in the main business for a year before the application/invitation10
Ownership in or more business under a formal joint venture agreement for a year before the application/invitation (management and activity participation) 5
An ownership interest in a business that gets at least 50% of its income from export trade15
You have an ownership interest in a business that has a grant from a government institution from your home country of at least AUD10,000 for a start-up or business expansion10
You have an ownership interest in a business that received venture capital funding of AUD100,000 four years before your invitation. 10
Special endorsement Your proposed business plan or investment is considered unique and important for the State or Territory where the nominating government body is. 10

If you’re not sure how many points you’ve scored then make sure you use the points calculator here.

Business Visa 188 Processing Times

For business visa 188, the Immigration Office doesn’t have a set processing time. However, the more complete your application is the less time it will take to review your application.

How Much Does a Business Visa 188 Cost?

A business visa 188 costs AUD5,375. However, the fees change if you are applying for different streams:

  • Business visa 188 significant investor stream fee is 7,880.
  • Business visa 188 entrepreneur stream fee is 4,045.
  • Business visa 188 premium investor stream fee is 9,455.

You are also required to pay an additional fee for any additional applicant, depending on their age the fee differs:

VisaVisa fee for applicants over 18Visa fee for applicants under 18
Business visa innovation stream1,470 730
Investor Stream 3,045 3,045
Significant Investor Stream 4,465 4,465
Premium Investor Stream 4,725 4,725
Entrepreneur Stream 2,060 2,060

For a business visa 188, you are also required to pay the second installment fee:

  • AUD9,795 for the main applicant.
  • AUD4,890 for your family members.

Important: if your applicants can’t provide evidence that they have a functional level of English, they must pay the second installment, or you must pay for them. The Immigration Department will let you know when to pay this installment but, you have to provide a declaration stating that you will pay for your dependents.

How Long Is a Business Visa 188 Valid for?

Your business visa 188 is valid for four years and three months. Applicants who applied before July 1st of 2015, can only stay for four years.

Can I Stay Longer?

You can stay longer if you want by applying for a new business visa 188. If you have a business innovation stream or a significant investor stream, you can apply for the business extension visa stream.

Can I Get Permanent Residence With a Business Visa 188?

You can apply for permanent residence via a business (permanent) visa 888. If you applied for the business visa 188 before 1 July 2015, then you are eligible to apply for permanent residence after 3 years and 11 months. If you are not ready to apply for permanent residence, you can extend your visa to the extension stream (significant investor or innovation stream only).

Can I Bring Family Members With a Business Visa 188?

You can include family members when you apply for business visa 188 and you may also sponsor other family members to arrive in Australia.

Can I Travel With a Business Visa 188?

You are allowed to travel freely with a business visa 188 since this visa is granted with multiple entries.

What if My Visa Application Is Denied?

If your visa application is denied, you may apply for an appeal of the denial notice. When the department makes a decision on your application you will receive a letter stating whether you have the right to appeal or not.

Do I Get a Refund if My Visa 188 Is Refused?

You do not get a refund of your application fee, but, you are given a refund of the second installment that you pay for your family members.

After You Get a Business Visa 188

To maintain your business visa 188, you must make sure you:

  1. Own or have shares in a business in Australia.
  2. Take part in the day-to-day activities of that business.

You are obligated, as a business owner in Australia, to do one of the following:

  • Create new job opportunities in Australia.
  • Trade (import and export) with Australian goods.
  • Launch innovative technology or update existing technology.
  • Create opportunities for international markets.
  • Create business competitiveness in the Australian economy.

Follow the Australian Work Laws

You must follow the workplace laws according to the Australian government. All of the workers in Australia have rights and protections at work, so make sure you are aware of these since as a visa holder these apply to you as well.

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