If you have ever wanted to live down under, and have five million bucks in the bank, then the Australian Significant Investor visa may be right for you. With a modest processing cost of $9,195 AUD ($5,714 USD), this visa enables the recipient and their family members to stay in Australia for up to five years and can take anywhere from twelve to twenty-four months to process. Hopefully, you’re not in a hurry.
Australia is a well-developed country, with its main attraction being its beaches, food, and wine. If you enjoy a surf, you will love living next to one of the world's best waves. There are also many parks and some world heritage sites for you to visit if the ocean isn't your thing. You'll never have a day without adventure. I lived in Melbourne, Australia, for three years, from 2006 to 2009 and loved my experience there.
Australia on a Map.
AUSTRALIAN SIGNIFICANT INVESTOR VISA
This is a multiple-entry visa, so you are free to come and go as you please. If you wish to stay longer than five years, you can apply for permanent residency under the Business and Investment Program under the Significant Investor Extension stream.
While you can bring your family with you, there is an additional cost of $4,595 ($2,855 USD) for every family member over the age of 18 and $2,300 ($1,429 USD) for every family member under 18.
There is a physical requirement for this visa. You must spend a minimum of 40 days out of the calendar year each and every year that your visa is active.
The primary qualification for this visa is that you need to invest $5,000,000 ($3,107,275 USD) in a “complying investment.” While there is a whole framework surrounding complying investments, the funds must be invested in “new, innovative, or fast-growing unlisted companies.” Your investment does not need to remain frozen for the length of your residency in Australia, and you are allowed to switch between alternative complying investments.
Other qualifications include being nominated by a state or territory before applying for this visa. You must also not have a history of unacceptable activities and a basic knowledge of the English language. This language requirement is extended to any adult member of your family. Further, you must sign an Australian values statement.
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Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia.
PERMANENT RESIDENCY BY INVESTMENT
The Australian Significant Investor visa is also a pathway to a permanent residency visa with the “Significant Investor stream.” In order to qualify, you must continue to hold your investment. The application time takes most people between 25 and 29 months. As a permanent resident, you would have the right to live and work in Australia indefinitely.
You can also enroll in Medicare and access Australia's public health care system. You can leave and reenter Australia as frequently as you want during the five-year period after the visa is issued. After that period has elapsed, you will need to apply for a “Resident Return” visa to re-enter as a permanent resident.
This permanent residency visa is a pathway to citizenship. Typically, this means four years of permanent residency in Australia, being of “good character,” and having close links to Australia, such as family, a bank account, a job, income tax returns, or property.
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Australia is the sixth largest country in the world by landmass. The country's population is almost entirely located on the coasts, where arable land is located. Australia experiences four distinct seasons, with summer running from December to March and winter from June to August. As Australia is such a large country, there's significant variation in climate based on where you are. The country's interior is the uninhabited outback, a dry, arid region that gets extremely hot in the summer.
Australia is known for its wildlife, including the kangaroo and dingo. There are thought to reside some 200,000 to 300,000 species of animals in total, many of whom have never been classified. Because of Australia’s unique geographical isolation, many mammals, reptiles, and amphibians living there are endemic.
The Commonwealth of Australia has a strong, developed economy, with a GDP per capita of $51,812 USD as of 2020. A strong tradition of the rule of law, a well-trained labour force, and a sound financial sector make it a great place to do business. The Heritage Foundation ranks it as the 12th free-est economy in the world.
TAX IMPLICATIONS OF RESIDENCY IN AUSTRALIA
Australia has a fairly steep and progressive income tax, with a top marginal rate of 45% on income above $180,000 ($111,861 USD). Someone making $180,000 ($111,861 USD) would have an effective tax rate of 28.7%.
Tax residents of Australia owe taxes to the Australian government on any income, regardless of where it was sourced. Non-tax residents only have to pay tax on income sourced from within Australia. While the most commonly accepted measurement of whether you are a tax resident of a country is the 183-day test, it is slightly more complicated than that. Tax authorities also consider whether you are “domiciled” within a country and examine ties such as whether you have a home there and where your bank accounts and financial interests are located.
One does not have to become a tax resident of Australia to take advantage of the Australia Significant Investor visa. As the residency requirements are only 40 days out of the calendar year, it would be possible to domicile yourself in a different country and reside in Australia part-time. In this case, you would not be a tax resident of Australia.
Australia also has a GST (VAT) of 10%, although “essential” goods like food and medicine are exempt. Property is taxed at the state level based on the value of unimproved land. Municipal entities also levy property taxes.
Capital gains are taxed as income, with a 50% exemption, so long as the asset in question has been owned for at least a year.
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BENEFITS OF RESIDENCY IN AUSTRALIA
There are many benefits to residing in Australia. Crime rates are pretty low, and it is a developed country with a sound economy and many economic opportunities. English is the national language, so you don’t have to worry about that, and the country has a sound legal system and, in general, good law and order.
Australia has a great climate, so you don’t have to worry about snow or freezing cold, and it is easy to live a healthy, outdoor lifestyle when you are there. There is a ton of land, so it is much easier to own property there than elsewhere, and there are tons of beaches to enjoy. So if Australia is the place you have dreamed of, you can reach us here.