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What is a ‘Golden Visa’ and why is the Govt scrapping it?

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The Federal Government has scrapped what's known as the "golden visa", designed to attract wealthy investors to Australia.
Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil has scrapped Australia's golden visa.

The Federal Government is scrapping a ‘golden visa’, designed to attract wealthy individuals to Australia.

It’s part of a broader visa overhaul under the Government’s Migration Strategy.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said it had been “obvious for years that this visa is not delivering what our country and economy needs”.

The golden visa

The ‘golden’ visa is formally known as the ‘Significant Investor’ visa. It requires the recipient to invest at least $5 million in Australia. This could include venture capital funds and managed funds that invest in companies listed on Australia’s stock exchange.

Under the visa, a person can stay in Australia with their family for five years before applying to live here permanently.

Unlike a Temporary Graduate visa, recipients aren’t required to learn English and only need to spend 40 days a year in Australia.

Changes

Australia’s immigration authority has paused new applications for the broader Business Innovation and Investment program. The Significant Investor visa falls under this category.

O’Neil confirmed the changes, and said the government was engaged in broader visa reform.

The government initially flagged it would make these changes in December, when it published its migration strategy. It set out plans to limit student visas and crack down on loopholes that have allowed worker exploitation.

Issues

The strategy indicated the Business Innovation and Investment program was delivering “poor economic outcomes for Australia”.

Government data shows 85% of people granted significant investor visas from 2012 to 2020 were from China.

According to a 2022 report by policy research group the Grattan Institute, the program mostly attracted older people who earned less than other skilled migrants.

What next?

The migration strategy floated reforms to the visa system to make Australia more competitive in the “global race for talent”.

The Government has proposed a streamlined pathway called a ‘Talent and Innovation’ visa. It would seek to attract high performing entrepreneurs, major investors, and global researchers.

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