A restriction on new applications and a slowdown in Significant Investor Visa processing times is leading to a desperate shortage of funding for venture capital and emerging companies to survive the post-COVID-19 recession.
A large number of SIV applications under the Business Innovation and Investment Program remain frozen in the final stages of approval because they are not being prioritised.
Executive Chairman of Atlas Advisors Australia, Guy Hedley said this added to a general slowdown in processing times and a downward trend in BIIP approvals that was impeding venture capital funds and emerging companies from obtaining urgently needed capital.
Mr Hedley said there were grave concerns BIIP applications could be stalled beyond July, creating uncertainty and further funding constraints for organisations that were already on the brink.
“These are startups and emerging companies that have the prospects of becoming global leaders in health, technology, agribusiness and manufacturing but are now on the verge of collapse,” Mr Hedley said.
“The Australian economy risks losing billions of dollars, jobs and future innovation if this occurs.”
Mr Hedley said BIIP applications should be urgently reopened and the Australian Government’s review of the program should be sped up to unlock urgent funds to support post-pandemic growth.
“The current cap on BIIP applications means Australia’s economy has closed itself off from millions of dollars that could assist our recovery,” he said.
Significantly, this could also offset the serious ramifications of an expected 85 per cent fall in migration in the 2020-21 financial year compared to 2019-20.
“Priority should be given to higher net worth migrant applicants to Significant Investor Visa, Investor Visa and Premium Investor Visa programs that bring substantially greater investment and longer-term benefits to the Australian economy.”
· It took up to six months to process applications in 2015. Today it takes between up to two years.
· 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.
About Atlas Advisors Australia
Atlas Advisors Australia is a leading funds manager and investment advisory business, operating between China and Australia offering a wide range of financial services and wealth management solutions. With operations in Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and Shanghai in China, we are able to support investors in all China and Australia locations.