4 August, 2020The Australian Government is going slow on processing applications under the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) despite the monetary windfall migrant investment could bring Australia’s struggling economy.
Executive Chairman of Atlas Advisors Australia Guy Hedley said the fall in immigration and disruption to business and supply chains could have disastrous long-term impacts on the growth of the Australian economy.
“These impacts could be substantially reduced by reforming the BIIP to increase the number of high net worth migrant investors,” Mr Hedley said.
“Our future Australian citizens make a vital contribution to our economy by putting capital towards venture capital and emerging companies.”
Mr Hedley said the Australian Government’s current review of the BIIP was an important opportunity to increase the benefits of the program to Australia.
“The investment criteria for investor migrants should direct more funds towards venture capital funds that invest in startups, regional centres and the commercialisation of university innovation rather than towards the stronger sectors such as property or thriving public companies,” he said.
“This critical reform could provide critical stimulus to help Australia’s economy to grow beyond COVID-19.
Mr Hedley said in addition to key reform, the government’s cap on migrant investors and slowdown in the processing of applications should be lifted.
Up to 50 applications, with complying investments valued at around $100 million, remain frozen in the final stages of approval.
“Five years ago, applications used to be processed within six to nine months, it now takes up to two years,” he said.
“The government’s go slow on processing and the current limits on the number of migrant investors is frustrating the delivery of urgent capital to assist businesses to survive beyond the pandemic.
“This could discourage migrant investors from coming to Australia. Instead their entrepreneurial know-how and their funds will be directed towards other nations with competitive migrant investor programs such as the United Kingdom and United States.”
The number of primary visas granted has declined to 98 in the six months between July to December 2019 from 191 in the previous corresponding period of July, 2018 to June, 2019.
In 2015, when applications were processed at their fastest, there were 879 approved.