Australian Small Business Visas

Did you know there are Small Business Visa Options available in several states around Australia. States where this visa is available include QLD, Tasmania and Canberra.

These small business visas are popular with applicants who are onshore and who cannot put together the funds for the standard investment visas (which often require an investment of around $500,000 and require a net asset value of $1.25 million dollars).

In contrast, these Small Business Visas only require a small investment or in certain states, no investment at all. However, these type of small business visas generally require you to be living and working in Australia. So you will not be able to apply for this visa from onshore. You might be able to do this on a student visa, graduate visa or other type of work visa.

Please note, all the information provided today is general in nature.

Now the small business owner pathway in each state is slightly different. However, there are common requirements. The Small Business Owner pathway is a special time of Skilled Regional (Subclass 491 visa). Meaning you would still need to:

  • Pass a skill assessment (Please note, this does not need to be related to your business)
  • Meet the 491 visa requirement (English, be under 45 years of age and score at least 65 points)
  • You would then lodge the expression of interest
  • Be invited by the state to apply for the visa.

Apart from this, each state has their own requirements. Below are a very basic overview of the individual state requirements:

Small Business Owner Visa (QLD – 491)

QLD has recently introduced the Small Business Owner Pathway.

The additional requirements for the Small Business Nomination pathway are:

  • You just need to pass a skill assessment any occupation in on the MLTSSL, STSOL and ROL (LIN 19/051)
  • You must have purchased an existing business in regional Queensland (Start ups or home based business are not eligible)
  • invested a minimum of $100,000 in the business prior to submitting an EOI (So you must have purchased a business)
  • have 100% ownership of the business (partnerships or joint ventures not eligible)
  • be trading in the business for 6 months prior to application
  • employ at least one other employee who is an Australian resident working a minimum of 20 hours per week.
  • You must have at least 6 months previous experience running the business (or a previous family run business)
  • You must be on a visa that allows full time work and the operation of a business for 35 hours per week
  • provide evidence of sufficient settlement funds.

Tasmania Small Business Owner Pathway

Please note, for this visa you do not need to have necessarily purchased a business. Instead you may be able to just start a business.

To be considered for this category you must meet all the following criteria:

  • demonstrate that you have established and operated your business (solely owned) in Tasmania for at least 6 months.
  • demonstrate that the business is highly likely able to give you a personal income that would meet the minimum taxable income requirement set by Home Affairs for the subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa. Currently, that is AU$53,900 per year for at least 3 years in the next 5 years.
  • show that you have an understanding of the responsibilities and requirements around treating employees fairly by completing key units on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s online learning centre.

Canberra Small Business Pathway

Please note for this visa you do not need to have necessarily purchased a business.

Your business in Canberra must meet the following minimum criteria to apply under SBO stream:

  • Ownership:You must own at least 51% of a registered business located and actively operating in the ACT.
  • You must be resident in Canberra for at least 3 months before invitation.
  • You must have worked in Canberra for at least 3 months.
  • You have at least 12 months ACT business activity on your ABN.
  • Self employed applicants must earn a minimum $520 per week ($1000 full time)
  • Turnover:your business must have a minimum turnover of AUD $200,000 per annum (or pro-rata).
  • Length of operation:your business must have actively traded in Canberra for at least 6 months from the date established or purchased.
  • Your business must be profitable.The profit can be as small as $1.
  • Your salary:Your business must be paying you the following salary immediately before date of Matrix submission:
    • 190 nomination: at least $26,000for six months.
    • 491 nomination: at least $13,000for three months.
  • Employee:You must employ at least one Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen for at least 13 weeks (minimum 20 hrs pw).

Please note, the above information is general in nature. I would highly recommend you discuss your situation with a registered migration agent.