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Sable International makes it easier for South African business owners to emigrate. Picture: SUPPLIED/SABLE INTERNATIONAL
Sable International makes it easier for South African business owners to emigrate. Picture: SUPPLIED/SABLE INTERNATIONAL

Australia’s Temporary Skill Shortage (482) and Business Talent (132) visas are offering successful SA business owners an easier way to emigrate.

Sam Hopwood, Australian migration agent for Sable International, says there is now significant interest from owners of small, micro- and medium-sized enterprises who have the means to emigrate.

“We’re seeing more South Africans who are nervous about their business security and assets, and they aren’t tyre-kickers, they’re serious about moving,” he says.

Hopwood says the traditional Business Innovation and Investment Visa (188) route generally feels too prescribed and rigid for business owners, with the Australian government dictating where they must invest — often in bonds and high-risk ventures.

Business Talent visa (132)

“Instead, the Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132) gives you the opportunity to operate a new or existing business in Australia and immediately obtain a permanent visa, so you can stay in Australia indefinitely.” 

The visa also allows you to work and study in Australia, enrol in the country's public health care scheme, sponsor certain relatives to come to Australia and, if you are eligible, apply for Australian citizenship.

Business owners must be able to demonstrate a successful business career and a genuine desire to own and manage a business in Australia.

“There are a host of qualifying criteria but, most importantly, you do need to have total net assets worth Aus$1.5m [R15.1m] or more, and the total annual turnover of your business must be at least Aus$3m, but it’s definitely the best option,” says Hopwood.

A key factor is that you must be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency before being invited to apply for this visa.

“Sable International has partnered with a property developer in New South Wales [NSW] and structured a product that complies with the regulations of the 132. Not all state governments allow the use of a property development business when applying for the 132. The NSW state government requires that your property development business complies with its additional criteria when proposing a property development business,” says Hopwood.

“We’ve chosen to partner with an experienced team in Sydney to deliver a property development business solution that complies with NSW criteria for the 132. It’s an out-of-the-box solution where the investor is involved in the running of the business.

“The level of involvement depends on the applicant and, as a minimum, they will have to attend board meetings. However, the ongoing level of day-to-day activity in the business can be tailored to their needs, allowing the visa holder the opportunity to pursue other ventures,” he says.

Temporary Skills Shortage visa (482)

An alternative option is the Temporary Skills Shortage (482) visa, which temporarily allows an employer to sponsor a suitably skilled worker to fill a position in an Australian business.

Businesses that operate outside Australia can sponsor employees to work in Australia. These sponsorships help international businesses that want to establish a presence in the Australian market or have contracts in Australia that need to be serviced by the overseas business.

This visa lets you establish your business in Australia and provides a pathway from temporary to permanent residence. In addition to the overseas business sponsorship, you will also need to apply for a Temporary Skilled Shortage visa (subclass 482).

“If you have a business with legs in SA, this is a good option. It allows your business an opportunity to expand into Australia and to sponsor employees or directors of the business directly on a work visa into Australia,” says Hopwood.

The visa applicant must be nominated to work in an occupation on the medium- and long-term skills list. Depending on the occupation, they might need a degree or five years’ experience and have at least two years’ relevant work experience in your nominated occupation or a related field.

“If you have a business with a competitive product that you can move easily, like software developers, it’s a good option. Many of our clients leave their cost centre in SA, importing off a low-cost base and continuing to leverage off their SA-based teams,” says Hopwood.

The visa allows you to work in Australia for up to four years and, if eligible, you can apply for permanent residence. To make the transition from a temporary residence visa to a permanent residence visa, your Australia-based company must first obtain a standard business sponsorship (SBS). You can apply for an SBS once your company is up and running in Australia.

“The process is complex and you need to work with experienced migration agents that understand the Australian and SA contexts. We specialise in helping small to medium-sized businesses and private individuals internationalise themselves. Besides meeting the mandatory migration requirements, you need to look at the implications on your tax and investments. With offices in both countries, we cover all bases,” says Hopwood.

Sam Hopwood will be in SA from November 4 to 15 2019 to consult on Australian migration. You can book a one-on-one consultation to discuss your options or contact him directly at migration@sableinternational.com.

This article was paid for by Sable International.