• CMI Legal Team

Concession for Business and Investment (Provisional) 188 Visa Holders

Updated: Sep 29

From 19 September 2020, a number of concessions are available for Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 188 visa holders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photograph by Spencer Davis

COVID-19 concessions are available to Business Innovation and Investment Program applicants who were granted a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 188 Visa before 1 July 2019, and who wish to apply for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) 888 Visa. These concessions aim to reduce disadvantages faced by 188 and former visa holders, as well as 888 visa applicants, who are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The concessions relate to the following criteria:

Application Requirements:

From 19 September 2020 until 3 months after the end of the ‘COVID-19 Concession Period’ (end date to be announced by the Department of Home Affairs), applicants can apply for an 888 Visa if they were holding a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 188 Visa which expired during the concession period.

Period of Residency:

During the ‘COVID-19 Concession Period’ (which commenced from 1 February 2020), time spent overseas will count as time being in Australia if applicants were the holders of one of the Business Innovation and Investment 188 (Provisional) Visas.

Level of Business and Investment Activity

  • Business Innovation Stream Applicants The amendments permit 188 visa holders to obtain another 188 Visa if they need more time to establish a qualifying business in Australia. 188 visa holders who are affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions are allowed to apply for up to two 188 Visas in the Business Innovation Extension Stream (previously only one visa extension in that stream is available). The COVID-19 concession also allows applicants to satisfy the requisite level of business activity (if the applicant holds or have held a 188 Visa in the Business Innovation Stream, or a 188 Visa in the Business Innovation Extension Stream during the concession period, and the 188 Visa was granted before 1 July 2019). Applicants must own interest in one or more main businesses that were actively operating in Australia for a cumulative period of at least 2 years while the applicant was the holder of the Innovation Stream Visa or the Extension Stream Visa.

  • Investor Stream Applicants The COVID-19 concession modifies the investment requirements for applicants under the Investor Stream who hold or held a 188 Visa granted before 1 July 2019, such that investments may be withdrawn or cancelled during the concession period where the holder of an Investor Stream 188 Visa has met the requirement to live in Australia for two years.

  • Significant Investor Stream Applicants Similar to the above, the COVID-19 concession allows applicants to withdraw or cancel their balancing investment component during the concession period, while maintaining their investment component in venture capital and emerging companies.

Please contact us to find out which COVID-19 concession applies to your specific circumstance and how we can help expedite your visa application.

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