This information has been provided by a Director of Ferguson Cannon Lawyers and is up to date as at 2nd February 2010.

Basically, all the rules about business migration changed in March 2003 and the requirements for a business skills visa were substantially altered – principally by deleting the requirement for a ‘points test’ – and replacing it with a two step process.


Provisional Business Skills Visas which allow you to reside in Australia temporarily for up to four years based on your skills and experience as a business manager and the performance of your current business. This four year period is for you to demonstrate that you can operate a business in the Australian business environment. You must meet certain threshold requirements whilst on these visas. There must be a need for you to reside in Australia to operate the business.


Permanent Business Skills Visas allow you to gain permanent residency based on your management and business performance whilst in Australia on a Provisional Business Skills Visa.  Certain threshold requirements must be met including turnover, employees and/or net personal and business assets. There must also be a need for you to be in Australia to continue operating the business.

The Business Skills visas are divided into a number of categories:

  • Business Owner: for owners or part-owners of a business;
  • Senior Executive: for senior executive employees of major businesses; and
  • Investor: for investors/business people willing to invest in Australia.

You may be sponsored by a state or territory government in which case lower entry criteria apply:..

  • State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner;
  • State/Territory Sponsored Senior Executive; and
  • State/Territory Sponsored Investor.

Alternatively, there are two categories for persons who are already in Australia on temporary visas, other than the Business Skills (Provisional) visas who have established a business whilst in Australia:

  • Established Business in Australia (EBA): for people temporarily in Australia who are owners or part owners of a business; and
  • Regional Established Business in Australia (REBA): for people temporarily in Australia who are owners or part owners of a business in a designated area of Australia.

Business Talent (Migrant) Visas

A person who is deemed to be a high-calibre business person, and who has State/Territory government sponsorship, can bi-pass the two-step provisional/residence visa process with a new Business Talent (Migrant) visa. The Business Talent visa will be available to high calibre business migrants who also have State or Territory sponsorship. The Business Talent visa is similar to the current Business Owner visa, but the requirements are more stringent.

When issued, this visa grants a permanent business skills visa immediately, rather forcing applicants to wait the minimum period on the temporary visa until they are eligible for  permanent residency.

In order to be assessed as a high-calibre business person, applicants must be under 55, be a business owner of an enterprise with an annual turnover of at least A$3,000,000, have net business assets of at least A$400,000 and have A$1.5 million available for transfer to Australia to set up your business.

This new subclass provides a direct path to permanent residence for successful business owners, or part-owners of a business with exceptional business skills who as applicants meet the specific criteria in a manner that benefits the Australian economy.


State/Territory governments can sponsor applicants for the Business Skills Visas. This allows States and Territories of Australia to influence the number, destination and skill levels of business migrants they seek to attract. Sponsorship from a State or Territory government allows applicants to be assessed against lower level criteria. State and Territory governments have specific criteria for deciding who they will sponsor and the relevant State/Territory business development agencies should be contacted for information in this regard.

This is by no means an exhaustive description of requirements or the possibilities open to you but it will certainly point you in the right direction. For more information, including the basic criteria for each category, we highly recommend you contact our business migration partners at Ferguson Cannon Lawyers.

Principal contact: Glenn Ferguson (Director, Notary Public, Migration Agent (MARA No. 0105779)