Subclass 888 – Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa

Subclass 888 – Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa

Australia has a long history of strong business migration programs. With the latest streamlined and simplified business visa structure from 1st July 2021, all business visa Australia holders will start with Subclass 188, and progress to permanent residency with a Subclass 888 business innovation and investment visa, which is the final destination of visa for business owners.

subclass 888 permanent visa in australia

Whilst this is a visa for business owners, you cannot apply for it directly. Instead, you must hold an eligible Subclass 188 visa in the right stream, which includes:

  • Business Innovation Stream
  • Investor Stream
  • Significant Investor Stream
  • Premium Investor Stream (Subclass 188 Premium Investor Stream is closed to new applications)
  • Entrepreneur stream

In limited circumstances, holders of Subclass 457, Subclass 444 and Subclass 188 in extension streams can also be eligible. You should speak to a migration agent to confirm your eligibility.

With Business Innovation Stream and Investor Stream being more popular, naturally there will be more Subclass 888 visa applications under these streams. Whilst each stream has its own requirements, there are still common grounds, namely:

  • Obtain state nomination – this is usually from the state/territory government that nominated you for your Subclass 188 visa. The terms for your Subclass 888 nomination should be detailed in your nomination agreement for Subclass 188 visa.
  • No history of unacceptable business/investment activity
  • Meet residence requirements
  • Remain committed to operating a business or investing in Australia
  • Compliance with visa conditions
  • Meet health and character requirements
  • No debt owed to the Australian government

Applicants will also be pleased to know that the Subclass 888 visa does not have a points test, and there is no need to wait for an invitation, which makes the application timeline much easier to manage. Lastly, it is possible for the spouse/de facto partner of the Subclass 188 visa holder to ‘swap’ and become the primary applicant of the Subclass 888 visa application, subject to his/her ability to meet eligibility requirements.

In addition to the above general eligibility requirements of visa for business owners, applicants for business innovation stream must meet the following minimum requirements:

1  Business Requirements

For 2 years prior to submitting the Subclass 888 business innovation and investment visa application, the primary applicant must:

  • Have the required ownership in an eligible Australian business or businesses:
    • 51% for turnover below AUD400,000 per year;
    • 30% for turnover of at least AUD400,000 or more per year
    • 10% if it’s a publicly listed company
  • Demonstrate that they have been directly involved in managing the day-to-day operations of the nominated Australian business(es)
  • Comply with local business requirements, such as mandatory reporting duties to ATO, holding correct business registrations etc.

The Australian business must also have an annual turnover of at least $300,000 AUD in the 12 months preceding the submission of your Subclass 888 visa application. It may be possible to seek a concession from your nominating state/territory government, if they are satisfied that there have been extreme circumstances affecting your business’ ability to meet this requirement.

Lastly, 12 months prior to submitting your Subclass 888 visa application, a minimum 2 of the following 3 requirements must be met:

  • Net business assets of $200,000 AUD in your nominated Australian business(es) for 888 visa application
  • Combined net personal and business assets of at least $AUD600,000 AUD
  • Creating full-time equivalent (FTE) of 2 employees in the nominated business(es)
    • These employees must be Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens
    • These employees cannot be related to you

Similar to the turnover requirements, you may be able to get a concession/exemption from the nominating state/territory government agency if they believe that extreme circumstances have prevented you from achieving these targets. 

2  Residence Requirements

For the primary applicant of the Subclass 888 visa application, you must be physically in Australia for at least 12 months cumulatively, within 2 or 3 years prior to submitting your Subclass 888 visa application, depending on the date of your Subclass 188A visa invitation.

COVID-19 concessions may be available for those affected by Australian border closure. However, this is assessed on a case-by-case basis. If you believe you are affected as a Subclass 188 visa holder, you should immediately contact a migration professional to discuss your eligibility and circumstances.

The key eligibility for Subclass 888 business innovation and investment visa under the investor stream is to hold the complying significant investment or designated investment made as part of your Subclass 188B visa, unless COVID-19 concessions apply.

Before the Subclass 888 visa application is submitted, the following requirements must be met:

  • State/territory nomination – all requirements prescribed in the Subclass 188 state nomination agreement must be met.
  • Residence requirements – at least 2 years cumulatively of physically residing in Australia, in the 3 or 4 years prior to submitting your Subclass 888 visa application. This requirement varies slightly depending on the date of your Subclass 188B visa invitation.
  • Again, COVID-19 concessions may be available.

    Cost and processing time

    Visa application charges paid to Department of Home Affairs as of April 2022 are:

    • Primary Applicant: $2,935.00
    • Each secondary applicant above 18 years old: $1,470.00
    • Each secondary applicant below 18 years old: $730.00

    There may be additional 2nd visa application charges payable for certain applicants without functional English.

    Current processing time can range from 20 to 27 months. However, if you are in Australia at time of lodging the Subclass 888 visa application, a bridging visa will be granted to you and automatically come into effect upon expiry of your current visa if your Subclass 888 visa application has not been decided.