I was delighted to attend the annual Lebanese Chamber of Commerce luncheon on 21st August 2017 at Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf, where the Hon Scott Morrison, MP and Federal Treasurer was the guest speaker.
Australia is an “immigration story” and a “small business story” said Mr. Morrison in his opening remarks to the 700 business leaders in attendance. Australia is a melting pot with 30% of us born overseas. A land of opportunity and fairness for those that want to have a go, the Lebanese community has one of the highest rates of self-employment in Australia.
Scott Morrison’s first role when winning government in September 2013 was the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Having attended a private dinner at Signorelli Gastronomia with Migration Alliance just prior to the 2013 federal election, I’d had the opportunity to chat to Mr. Morrison on his view of the new Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program.
The view of the incoming government was very positive back then on the SIV program. However, today, in comparing the numbers in the first phase of the program being in excess of 1,600, versus the drop to less than 200 after the government tinkered with the program two years ago, I asked the minister from the floor how he felt about this dramatic decline?
Mr. Morrison responded that the management of the SIV program had subsequently become the responsibility of the Trade and Investment minister (The Hon Andrew Robb, MP). Originally the SIV inbound migration program, which provides a pathway to permanent residency in Australia through an investment of $5M for 4 years, included Australian state government bonds. Treasury Bonds, with their high credit rating, are sought out by investors all over the world.
In July 2015 the program was changed to require mandatory investment in Venture Capital. To attract the best and brightest and invest in new start-ups where Australia has a competitive advantage such as biotech, health, research and other areas, Australia needs capital.
Our story of immigration is not just about people, but also about ideas and innovation. The business and investment migration program aims to attract those who can use their skills here and add to our economic prosperity. Immigration has an important role to play but Mr. Morrison’s overall response to the question was that it is about quality, not quantity. Australia is a great place to live and many people want to come here.
Let’s hope as summarised in the Expat Advisors Community submission for the July 2017 review of the SIV program by Austrade, that the government refrains from any further tinkering with the program!
Stacey Martin, Founder of Expat Advisors Community, is an Investor Migration Consultant for Australia and New Zealand. If you are considering moving to Australia or would like to augment your offering with access to a range of experts to help make the move as smooth as possible contact us about our concierge service.