Wealthy Chinese set course for Australia – AFR July 2014

Australian opens doorsAustralia opens doors to rich Chinese
Meet the Chinese billionaires with Australia in their sights – following are excepts from article in the Financial Review which can be read in full here.

Significant Investor Visa (SIV) Immigrants are required to put the $5 million into government bonds or complying funds that invest in assets such as infrastructure, real estate and agribusiness, for four years. The initial visa requires residency of at least 40 days a year over the period, after which permanent residency can be granted.

The first 188 visa, so-called because the number eight in Chinese sounds similar to the word for making a fortune and is considered lucky, was awarded to an unidentified Chinese toymaker in 2013.  In May, the government announced a review to “reboot” the investor visa program and ease implementation.

Australia’s Significant Investor Visas (SIV), which are similar to US EB-5 visas that come with a $US500,000 investment minimum and a requirement to create jobs, are designed to attract overseas capital and eventually allow permanent residency in the country.

More than 60 funds have been started to capture the money, including by the largest banks in Australia. Wealthy immigrants can chose from offerings by private fund managers as well as banks: Westpac Banking Corp, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, Macquarie Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank.

NAB, Australia’s largest lender by assets, offers more than 20 such funds for immigrants, ranging from equities to fixed- income. “To ignore the SIVs will be to ignore the financial opportunity the applicants are bringing into Australia,” said Prini Acharrie, a director in the lender’s private-wealth unit.

Investors are interested in property, including offices, hotels and resorts, as well as agribusiness and energy, according to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, which provides consulting advice for SIV applicants. “The investments my clients are looking at range from agribusiness focused on high protein, meat products – lamb and beef – and soy, and clean energy, largely solar and wind,” said Catherine Chow, Deloitte’s Sydney-based partner for the Chinese Services Group.

The government’s new attention to processing visas should encourage applicants looking for alternative destinations after Canada shut its door on a similar program, said Mark Wright, head of Deloitte’s immigration practice in Sydney. “If Australia gets this right, it will clearly be a benefit for generations to come,” Deloitte’s Wright said.

To read the full article go to the Financial Review link here.