The Significant Investors Visa Scheme (SIV) has seen relative success for the Australian government in attracting wealthy foreign investors to the country in return for a visa but after recent complaints about lengthy waiting times amidst a backlog of applicants the possibility of loosening restrictions has been mooted and could well come into effect this November.
With more than 90 per cent of applicants for the SIV being from China the government are looking at ways of easing restrictions for visa applicants from that country in an attempt to further the success of the SIV in the hope that the scheme will eventually bring in around $A6billion more to public coffers.
Finding a comfortable balance is the main priority for the Australian government as they look to make the most out of the financial gains brought in by immigration without making it too easy for undesirables to slip through the net. This coupled with China’s recent crackdown on funds being transferred out of the country does not make any forthcoming decisions easy for the Australians and it looks like easing restrictions on the SIV is their best course of action.
By the end of June, just 286 visas had been approved compared with 1,497 “expressions of interest”, according to data from the Immigration Department. And with At least 20 percent of applications are either withdrawn or rejected, largely for want of more disclosures on the sources of funding; officials are looking at fixing these problems as rapidly as possible without compromising security or the validity of the scheme.
The new rules are likely to clarify the source of funding for an SIV application thus making it easier for applicants and immigration lawyers to know what information they should be providing. A timeframe should also be put in place so that applicants know exactly how long they have to provide the correct evidence and applications themselves can be processed much more efficiently and at a far quicker pace.
The number of applications are set to rise after Canada cancelled a similar program this year, saying it “significantly undervalued Canadian” permanent residency. Wealthy Chinese are also being attracted by struggling southern European economies that include Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Portugal who have similar schemes with their ‘Golden Visa’ set up.
With China emerging as the prominent economic superpower of the moment, more and more wealthy individuals are finding investment and property opportunities abroad and the SIV scheme looks like the perfect opportunity to both diversify assets as well as affording them the opportunity to seek western education for future generations of their family as well as the possibility of moving to another country.
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