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Australia encourages investments in the country and allows for overseas residents to create businesses. Investors are very welcome and conditions to open businesses in Australia are optimum. New businesses aid in job creation, improve the economy, and benefit Australia in many ways. Innovation and creativity are recognised as important to the economy, with overseas investors able to create companies in Australia, if certain conditions are met.

If you start a business in Australia, or if you intend to work as a freelancer, you will have to apply for an Australian Business Number, or ABN. The application can be done online and is a straightforward process. For more information about the ABN number, please visit the ATO website.

Innovation and investment visas

Dependant on your situation, you may be able to apply for an investor visa to operate your business in Australia.

If you have a business background and want to implement and manage a new or existing business in Australia, you may be eligible to apply for a Provisional Business Innovation and Investment Visa.

Before you can apply for this visa, you must be nominated by a state or territory government.

The following steps can be followed to apply for this visa:

  1. Submit an expression of interest through Department of Immigration’s SkillSelect online service.
  2. You must wait to see if a state or territory government decides to invite you to apply for a visa. You can wait for a state or territory government to contact you, or you can contact them directly.
  3. If you receive an invitation, you can then apply for a visa. You’ll need to meet certain requirements and provide documents to support your application.

If you’re granted one of these provisional visas, it will be valid for a four year period, and you’ll have completed the first step towards getting a permanent Innovation and Investor Visa. For more information on this visa type, visit the Department of Immigration's website.

 Good to know:

You can’t ask for an investor’s visa if you do not have previous management experience. Your managerial skills in your home country will be analysed in detail before the immigration service can grant an investor visa.

Permanent business talent visas

You may also be eligible for the Permanent Business Talent Visa if you meet the following conditions:

  • Own or part-own an overseas business, have net business and personal assets of at least AUD $1.5 million, and an annual business turnover of at least AUD $3 million
  • Have obtained at least AUD $1 million in venture capital funding in Australia to develop a high-value business idea.

Additional support

For more detailed information about how a business can be started, the Australian Government has created a guide to starting a business. This covers a range of information, including trademarking, taxes, business registration, leasing an office premises, insurance, and employment of staff. Time and planning is key to ensure that your business will be successful, so taking the time to understand and comply with all Australian procedures will help you achieve success.

For more information about how foreign residents are taxed when doing business in Australia, please consult the following link:

https://www.ato.gov.au/business/international-tax-for-business/in-detail/doing-business-in-australia/doing-business-in-australia---what-you-need-to-know/

 Useful links:

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

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