How to move your South African family and business to Oz when you’re over 45

*This content is brought to you by Sable International. With offices in Melbourne, staffed by MARA-registered Australian immigration experts, Sable International is a great choice when you need immigration assistance.

By Sam Hopwood*

Many South Africans close to, or over the age of 45, dream of moving their families and lives to Australia. As many have found out the Australian visa system is complex, and because of the overwhelming amount of information out there, many incorrectly assume that if they’re over 45 years old they have no visa options left. However, the Business Innovation visa gives South African business owners (and their families) the chance to make the move.

Sable International Australia

Why choose the Business Innovation visa?

One of the main attractions of the Business Innovation visa (subclass 188) is that, while many Australian visas have a low age limit, you need only be under the age of 55 to qualify. This age limit can be increased in special cases. The visa allows you to not only move your business to Australia, but your family too. You can bring your partner, children/step-children and your partner’s children/step-children with you on this visa. What’s more, they too will have the right to live, study and work in Australia for the duration of the visa.

Australia is famous for its year-round hot and sunny weather, sense of community and laidback lifestyle. With world-class schools and low levels of crime, this visa gives you and your family a wealth of opportunities in terms of education, lifestyle and security. If a fresh start is what you’re after, this visa might just be the solution you’ve been looking for.

Do you qualify for this visa?

To be eligible for this visa, there are some specific requirements that you and your business will need to meet.

  • For two out of the four fiscal years immediately before applying for the visa, you must have had ownership of an established business that had at least AUD500,000 turnover in each of those years
  • Either you or your partner, or the two of you combined, must have total net business and personal assets of at least AUD800,000 that can be used to establish a business in Australia
  • You must meet the English language requirement
  • You must score at least 65 points on the immigration points test
  • You must be under the age of 55*
  • You, and each dependant applying with you, will need to meet the health and character requirements
  • Those 18 years or older will also need to sign an Australian Values Statement, confirming that you will respect the Australian way of life and obey Australian laws

*A state or territory can choose to waive this requirement if your proposed business will be of exceptional economic benefit to the nominating state or territory.

An Australian visa solution for your family

The Business Innovation visa (subclass 188) is a provisional visa and is valid for four years and three months from the date it is granted. After this, you will be eligible for the Business Innovation visa (subclass 888) which is a permanent residence visa. You can apply for the permanent residency visa after two years provided that your business has met the following benchmarks.

Let’s take a close look at some of the requirements. The table below summarises the visa’s requirements. As such, you should not assume you immediately qualify for a Business Innovation visa. You will always need the help of an experienced migration agent when it comes to applications like these.

Business criteria (two out of three must be satisfied) 1. Applicant (and partner) have held at least AUD200,000 net main business assets for the last 12 months
2. Applicant’s main business has had at least two full-time Australian employees for the last 12 months
3. Applicant (and partner) have held at least AUD600,000 net business and personal assets for the last 12 months
Business turnover Applicant and partner’s main business generated turnover of at least AUD300,000 for the last 12 months
Time spent in Australia Applicant must have spent one out of the two years preceding the application living in Australia
Time of ownership of main business Applicant must have maintained ownership of the main business for a period of at least two years
Where to begin?

As with any Australian visa, you will have to provide extensive documentary evidence along with your application. You will also need to provide evidence of your relationship to each individual who applies as a dependant on your visa.

The Australian Department of Home Affairs are notoriously strict. Application fees are expensive, so you need to ensure that you have ticked every box and provided every official document necessary before you go ahead and submit your application.

The advice of a MARA-registered immigration advisor is invaluable when it comes to these applications. Simply get in touch with our advisors to ensure you don’t waste time and money on an unsuccessful application.

  • Sam Hopwood is the Managing Director of Sable International’s Australian office. He will be in the Cape Town office conducting one-on-one consultations for those interested in their Australian visa options.