Australia

Expanded Australian investor visa would open new opportunities for business

A more expansive Significant Investor visa programme would help innovative Australian businesses benefit from venture capital funding to fuel future economic growth.

That’s according to a submission recently lodged by the Australian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL).
 
“The Significant Investor visa programme has proven itself to be an important part of Australia’s strategy to compete for global capital from offshore investors,” says AVCAL’s chief executive, Yasser El-Ansary. “But the programme should be expanded in order to allow offshore investors to allocate capital to other asset classes that are critical to supporting the growth of Australia’s future, such as venture capital and private equity.”
 
In the period since in its introduction in late 2012, the Significant Investor visa programme (SIV) has led to an additional AUD720m being brought into Australia from offshore individuals. 
 
AVCAL’s submission to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection review into the SIV programme identifies the opportunity to deliver a significant boost to that level of investment if the shortcomings of the existing SIV regime – which arise from a narrow band of eligible asset classes under the list of ‘complying investments’ – are addressed. 
 
“In the venture capital sector, new investment from private individuals over the last three years has averaged AUD33 million each year, and we think that a more expansive Significant Investor visa programme could lead to a substantial lift in that level of investment over the next few years,” says El-Ansary.
 
Other developed economies such as the US, UK, New Zealand and Singapore are using their SIV-equivalent programmes to channel offshore investment into those industry sectors that need funding support to catalyse targeted economic activity – an important observation about the competitive worldwide landscape flagged by AVCAL in its submission.
 
“There is an intense global race for capital from investors who are looking for markets that offer sustainable growth potential into the future, and that’s where Australia has an opportunity to seek out new investment into venture capital and private equity, which will be critical to Australia’s future economic prosperity,” says El-Ansary. 

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