Australia might cancel 188C visa in significant investor stream

Updated: Sep 13

The 188C significant investor visa is a subclass of Australia's Business Innovation and Investment (provisional) visa. It is for those who are able to invest at least AUD 5 million in Australian investments that meet certain and the applicant need to hold the investment for the life of the visa.

To put it simply, the visa program allows the wealthy to buy their fast track into Australia, of which most Australians feel offended. Federal Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil said that it has become a problem for the country's immigration system. Most of the successful applicants just settle down and retire after landing in the country, rather than contribute.

Some changes on immigration were made after the job and skills summit in Canberra happening this month. The Albanese government agreed to raise the amount of Australia's skilled immigration from 160,000 to 195,000, aiming at alleviating worker shortage of the country. The number of the 188C scheme was cut to half for this financial year. Despite of these, Ms O'Neil suggested that the scheme might be cancelled after a thorough review of the immigration system, which will come out at the end of February next year. She thinks it is unnecessary to maintain the scheme as part of the immigration program, since it is not contributing to the country. She also denied the current complex visa set of categories an appropriate way to operate the immigration system.

Although Ms O'Neil indicated to simplify the visa system, the federal is not ignoring genuine temporary entry requirements. The immigration department is prioritizing offshore cases over those from applicant who are already in the country. Meanwhile, Ms O'Neil flagged to clear a backlog of more than 100,000 temporary visa holders, of whom most are asylum seekers and refugees. She admitted that this may take years.