When you start a business as a non-citizen you need to make sure you know:

  • what visa you need to get
  • how to get the right visa
  • what legal and government requirements apply to Australian businesses.

1. Understand the visa process

The Department of Home Affairs is responsible for Australian business visas. If you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you'll need a visa to work in Australia.

Before you can apply for these visas, you must be nominated by a state or territory government.

Generally, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Submit an expression of interest through the Department of Home Affairs’ SkillSelect online service.
  2. See if a state or territory government or the CEO of Austrade decides to invite you to apply for a visa. You can wait for a state or territory government to contact you, or you can contact them directly.
  3. If you receive an invitation, you can then apply for a visa. You’ll need to meet certain requirements and provide documents to support your application.

2. Find the right visa for you

There are specific visa options for non-citizens who want to run a business in Australia.

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa

If you already have business skills you might be eligible for a Business Innovation and Investment provisional visa. This provisional visa is for people with business skills. It lets you operate a new or existing business in Australia.

If you’re granted a Business Innovation and Investment provisional visa, it’ll be valid for 4 years and 3 months.

Provisional visa holders may be able to apply for a permanent visa once certain requirements are met.

Business Talent visas

You may also be eligible for the Business Talent visa if you have been:

  • nominated by a state or territory government agency
  • invited to apply for the visa
  • have the required funding or assets.

This is a permanent visa. There are 2 types of business talent visas.

Significant business history stream

This is for experienced business owners looking to operate a new or existing business in Australia.

To be eligible you need to have:

  • a net value of at least AUD $1.5 million
  • an annual business turnover of at least AUD $3 million.

Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream

This is for business people who are looking at starting a new business in Australia and have sourced venture capital funding from a member of the Australian Investment Council (AIC).

To be eligible you need to have at least AUD $1 million in venture capital funding in Australia to develop a high-value business idea.

For more information and help on what business visa you should apply for go to the Explore your visa options on the Home Affairs website.

3. Set up your business in Australia

The money and time it takes to start and run a business in Australia varies greatly. It depends on the type of business you'd like to run and the supplies and licences you need. To help you understand what's involved, have a look at the following resources:

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