Australian Sporting Tips

Friday, March 06, 2015

Blog by Hamish Martin, Registered Migration Agent (MARN) 1462173 at AMVL Migrations

With the ICC Cricket World Cup in our backyard and the NRL/AFL season about to kick off as an avid sports fan it’s hard to be anything but excited for this time of year. Whether it’s a slash of a Maxwell bat, a spectacular around the corner goal by Gary Ablett or a barnstorming run by Greg Inglis everyone is excited to see their favourite stars back in action. 

And if those names I mentioned above don’t mean anything to you, they should. There is no better feeling than enjoying a relaxing beer at the cricket, cheering on your AFL team with an 80,000 strong crowd at the MCG, or watching some devastating tackles from some big lads in your NRL team. 

In fact loving sport is an Australian tradition, almost a part of our culture. And why shouldn’t it be? – For a country of 23 million we sure do punch well above our weight on the world stage. Swimming, Cricket, Rugby and more recently soccer (having won the Asia World Cup) are all sports that Australia excels in. 

Now back to my tips. Tipping isn’t my forte as my online tipping account will attest; however there are some standout teams that I’d keep an eye on throughout this cricket world cup. The obvious standout (now I may be a little biased) is Australia. They were the number one ranked team leading into the tournament and are rightfully favourites to win. 

They do however have some strong competition from our cross Tasman rivals New Zealand who recently gave Australia a touch up. If Brendon McCullum fires so do the Black Caps. Then of course there is South Africa with AB de Villiers and the record breaking Chris Gayle from the West Indies. In all fairness any of the top ranked six teams on their given day can beat anyone.  

From one sports tragic to another if you’re looking to migrate to Australia and have a love of sport you’re looking at the right place. 

If you’re interested in applying for a visa to the world cup or simply looking at options to migrate to Australia please do not hesitate to contact myself or one of our other friendly Registered Migration Agents. 

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A reminder about Parent & Other Family visas

Thursday, January 29, 2015
Blog by Kara Williams, Registered Migration Agent (MARN) 1386065 at AMVL Migrations

From 25 September 2014 the Department of Immigration and Border Protection re-opened the non-contributory Parent and Other Family visa categories following a successful disallowance motion in the senate. These types of applications were to be open for a protected period of 6 months only and are subject to be closed again at any time after the 25 March 2015.

These categories include: the Parent Visa (non-contributory); Aged Parent Visa; Aged Dependent Relative Visa; Remaining Relative Visa; and Carer Visa. These visas allow Australian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their parents and dependent relatives to migrate to Australia or, in the case of a Carer visa, to sponsor a relative to care for them if they have a long-term or permanent medical condition.

All of these applications are paper-based and lodged at the Parents Centre based in Perth, WA. There is still sufficient time to prepare and lodge an application so please contact our Family Residence Team to discuss your eligibility. If you are considering lodging one of these visa applications, AMVL highly recommends you to do so as soon as possible, as it may close again at any time after 25 March 2015.

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Two year check-up for Australia’s Significant Investor Visa

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Blog by Helen Duncan, Director & Registered Migration Agent (MARN) 0003187 at AMVL Migrations.

It is now getting close to two years since the introduction of the Significant Investor Visa – commonly known as the SIV or 188C visa.  As all of us mothers know, it is about the time when your little one turns two that you start to do a bit of an assessment – are they talking as much as they should, are their fine and gross motor skills what they should be, are they socialising with other two year olds appropriately.   It is a time when if there does appear to be any issues, you look for some intervention as early intervention solves many problems later.  I have always been grateful that we took one of our boys to a speech therapist as a two year old and didn’t listen to everyone who said not to worry as Einstein apparently did not speak until he was six years old.

So it is a good time to have a look at our two year old SIV.  Has it succeeded in doing what it was meant to do and is there any need for early intervention?

It was with great fanfare that the SIV was introduced in November 2012 and the interest has continued.  This is a pathway through which investment capital will flow into Australia from high net worth individuals overseas.  Provided they meet the fairly straightforward criteria including the transfer of $5 million into a complying investment in Australia, the individual and their family members will be granted 4 year multiple entry provisional visas.  To be granted a permanent visa, the main applicant will need to spend at least 160 days in Australia over that 4 year period and keep the investment of $5 million in Australia (though it can be moved around).  There is no age barrier or requirement to have a certain English level.

The main applicant does however need to provide evidence that they lawfully own the funds and that the funds have been accumulated through legitimate means.  Legitimate means includes a gift (though the source of the gift will need to demonstrated), the sales of assets, dividends from investments, profit from the operation of a business, a loan from a financial institution (against assets worth more than $5 million) or an inheritance or other windfall gain (such as a lotto win).  It is this requirement that seems to be causing the greatest problem as sometimes, providing evidence on paper that the funds are legitimate is not easy, particularly in countries where the cash economy is often the norm.  This has led to some very long delays in processing applications, particularly through the Australian Immigration office in Hong Kong, though it appears to be getting faster.

After the introduction of the visa, the first SIV application was approved in May 2013 and since then (up until the end of August 2014) there have been a further 385 applications approved.  This may not seem like a lot but when you think that this converts into $1.93 billion in complying investment, it is a significant amount of foreign capital coming into Australia.

Most of the approved applications have been nominated by the Victorian government (50%) followed closely by New South Wales (about 38%), and by far the greatest source country is China with 88% of the approved applications coming from people living in mainland China.

Of course there have been the critics of the scheme.  In February 2014, Canada ceased its equivalent scheme, though a much lower amount of money was required to get an investment visa for Canada.  This is claimed to be in part due to the scheme resulting in surges in property prices and the creation of “zombie” suburbs where most of the apartments lie empty for much of the year as the owners live overseas.  It has also been suggested that the property price increases in parts of Sydney in recent months have been the result of Chinese investors buying up property for above market value.  Recent media stories on the high prices paid at auction have tended to zero in on people who look like they are foreigners without any real evidence that this is the case.  I don’t think you will find anyone selling their homes complaining about getting an above market price and as it is assumed that this money is circulated in the Australian economy, there is still an overall gain financially to Australia.

Some changes have been taken over the last 2 years to make the requirements for the SIV less rigid and these have been from both the Federal Government and some of the state governments.  For example in August 2013, the Minister for Immigration announced an expansion in the list of complying investments and in August 2014, the NSW state government announced that an applicant was no longer a requirement to put $1.5 million in the Waratah (state government) bonds to get sponsorship from NSW.

In March this year (now some 6 months ago), the Assistant Minister for Immigration and  Border Protection announced a review of the SIV program as it was felt that it needed a boost.  The review was meant to look at processing issues, the possibility of greater flexibility in investment choices and perhaps the introduction of a permanent visa stream for investors.  The outcome of the review has just been announced with some interesting upcoming changes including:
  • The creation of a Premium Investor Visa (PIV) which requires an investment of AUD 15 million, nomination by Austrade (Australian Government Trade office), no residence requirement and permanent residency in 12 months (closest thing to buying permanent residency in Australia)
  • Greater involvement of Austrade in determining complying investment policy for the SIV
  • The ability to swap the main applicant between the provisional and permanent visa stage for all business visas (this is a great improvement as either partner will be able to meet the residency requirement in Australia when it is introduced)
  • Range of changes to improve the timing of processing which as indicated above, is already happening
There is no date as yet for the implementation of these changes and it has been suggested that it will be 1 July 2015 but we will let you know what this happens.

So I guess we need to go back to our initial question – is our 2 year old doing OK and do we need intervention?  It seems that although it was a bit low in starting, our SIV is gaining momentum and reaching the milestones that would be expected.  There is the recognition from all levels of government that more flexibility should be introduced and I think this intervention is a good thing.   While there needs to be some recognition of a cash economy in some countries and therefore more flexibility in documenting the source of funds, I don’t think any Australian would want to see this scheme as a front for money laundering.  There is a fine balance but local knowledge and perhaps more ability to look at applicants on a case by case basis (which will mean an easing of the policy surrounding documentation of the source of funds) would allow faster processing and more interest in the program.

To discuss your eligibility for the Significant Investor Visa or simply to learn more, contact a member of the AMVL Migrations team.

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