Understandably this raises huge concerns and a myriad of questions for land and business owners in South Africa and for people considering emigration.
There have been a number of recent stories run on the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) programs.
In simple terms, the SIV visa option relaxed the normal age and language requirements, provided adequate funds are invested in Australia.
Business visa options for Australia
Mr Zeke Bentley, Principal of Irish Bentley Lawyers, has been navigating the various visa options in Australia for two decades and specialises in difficult visa solutions.
“I have worked with the relevant Australian government departments to entice business talent into Australia, and right now there is an incredible amount of interest at the government level in assisting South Africans to move here.”
“The important thing to realize is that most migration agents do not possess accounting or legal qualifications, and both of these are absolutely necessary if you are to ensure your business records and financials are sufficient to satisfy the visa requirements, especially when dealing with the relaxed rules that exist in the SIV and business visa applications.”
“I often spend time with accountants based overseas to assist them with adjusting the financials to meet Australian accounting rules, and the relevant migration requirements. I also spend time reviewing asset protection and tax structures where required, to show that assets that appear to be owned by a trust, are in fact owned by the visa applicant… obviously, this involves an understanding of company structures and how the rules work at a high level.”
Australia’s millionaire immigrant boom
New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirm that the number of millionaires streaming into Australia has surged to 7260 in the past year.
Visa applications in the Business Innovation and Investment Programme, which includes investors with more than $1 million in business assets, jumped by 74 per cent in 2016-17 up from 5781 to 9051.
The “significant investor stream” requires investors to allow for up to $5 million for Australian bonds, shares and venture capital projects.
By March 2018 up to 2000 had been approved, delivering a $10 billion windfall to the Australian economy, despite a slow-down after property was excluded from the category in 2015.
The report said Australia had a net-inflow of 10,000 millionaires in 2017.
The Department of Home Affairs confirmed “high wealth individuals may also be granted visas through other visa classes [outside the business and innovation programme]” to explain the difference between the two figures.
“That is the highest net migration of millionaires to any country last year in absolute terms, let alone correcting for population,” said Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley.
China accounted for 90 per cent of all high-net-worth investors coming to Australia in 2016-17.
Zeke Bentley commented on this phenomenon: “The investor options provide a visa solution where the visa applicant has limited English skills, or where they are over 55 years old… so these SIV visa options present a solution. That said, one should not just find a visa solution and adopt it – you should look at all the options, and the pros and cons of each before deciding on the best strategy.”