New Entrepreneur (SISA) Visa to South Australia

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The Government of Australia has announced an introduction of a New Entrepreneur visa to encourage ‘the world’s ‘best and brightest start-up entrepreneurs’ to move to South Australia and develop their business in the State.

What is the purpose of the new visa arrangement?

According to a Joint Media Release of the Federal Government and the government of South Australia, the new visa arrangement will be piloted in South Australia and is aimed at ‘attracting some of sharpest minds in the entrepreneurial world to establish their start-up in the State.’

According to the Premier of South Australia Steven Marshall, the entrepreneurs applying for the new visa can be focused on a variety of industries, however, the State government will look more favourably on the applications that relate to defence and space, cyber security and big data, agribusiness, health and media technology, robotics, media and film.

The State Government wants South Australia to have a higher rate of business start-ups and entrepreneurship than anywhere else in Australia within the next decade and intends to build on their plan for an Innovation, Incubator, Startup and Growth Hub in South Australia.

How the new visa will work?

According to David Pisoni, the Minister for Industry and Skills, unlike other visa classes in this area, the new visa arrangement does not require applicants to demonstrate a minimum funding of $200,000 for approval. Instead, the success of their application will ultimately rest upon the quality of their start-up and idea and the soundness of their business plan.

The Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) pilot project will be implemented by five local coworking organisations, accelerators and incubators, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur. Those are: COHAB, Innovation and Collaboration Centre (University of South Australia), The Moonshine Lab, New Venture Institute (Flinders University) and Thinclab (The University of Adelaide).

To be able to apply for the visa, applicants will need endorsement from South Australian Government entity (the Department for Trade, Tourism and Investment (Immigration SA)).

SISA will be run over three years, commencing in November 2018 and ending in November 2021.

What will be the major criteria for the visa?

Applicants under the SISA pilot will be applying for a Temporary Activity (Subclass 408) visa under the Australian Government Endorsed Event stream (SISA visa).

An applicant for SISA visa will be required to satisfy both the Department of Home Affairs’ criteria and the South Australian Government requirements. The applicant will be required to:

  • be under 45 years of age at the time of visa application;
  • have an innovative idea with a supporting business plan;
  • demonstrate at least a minimum of Vocational level English (i.e., at least 5 for each of the 4 test components in IELTS test or TOEFL iBT equivalent);
  • meet all health, character and financial requirements detailed by the Department of Home Affairs;
  • be endorsed by the South Australian Government entity to take forward an innovative idea in South Australia;
  • have sufficient funds to support himself/herself (including any eligible dependant family members included in the application). The Department of Home Affairs may ask the applicant to provide evidence of funds, such as an employment contract, bank statements or a letter from financial institution stating the applicant’s financial position. Allowances, accommodation and other assistance from the applicant’s employer may also be considered by the Department of Home Affairs when looking at the applicant’s ability to support himself/herself.

Please, however, note that the following business types will not be eligible for endorsement by the South Australian Government entity for SISA visa:

  • Cafés and restaurants;
  • Consulting firms/companies;
  • Employment agencies;
  • Export/import businesses/companies;
  • Franchises;
  • Foot reflexology;
  • Massage parlours;
  • Acupuncture;
  • Traditional Chinese medicine;
  • Herbal dispensing businesses;
  • Geomancy/fengshui business; and

The application process will involve two major stages:

  1. application for endorsement, which may be made offshore or onshore, unless the applicant holds any of the following visas:
    • Student visas (including Subclasses 500, 570, 571, 572, 573 or 574);
    • Subclass 403; or
    • Subclass 771; and
  2. once endorsed, application for SISA visa.

Requirement to have an innovative idea

In addition to the criteria applicable to the applicant for SISA visa, there are certain requirements of South Australian Government with respect to the applicant’s business concept, idea or proposal. In particular:

  1. the applicant must be able to demonstrate in-depth knowledge, expertise or track record in the product or service they are targeting;
  2. the applicant’s business concept must demonstrate a clear, competitive advantage, genuine innovation, novel intellectual property or high barriers to entry;
  3. the applicant must commit to developing a start-up project in South Australia in any industry sector. However, priority will be given to proposals in the industry sectors/areas listed above;
  4. the applicant must have secured the support of a selected service provider who/that has reviewed and approves the applicant’s proposal, idea or concept (Immigration SA will forward the application to the service provider selected by the applicant);
  5. the applicant’s project must have strong potential to create local employment and export revenue for South Australia;
  6. the applicant’s project will have at least 50% of its assets and at least 50% of personnel located in South Australia during the period of SISA visa.

What will be the duration of the visa?

The duration of the visa will be up to three years, depending on the time of visa grant (all visas will expire on 30 November 2021 as this is a pilot for South Australia).

Our Services

If you believe that you may be eligible for SISA visa, solicitors and migration agents of Pavuk Legal may advise you on the SISA arrangement, verify your eligibility for the visa and assist you in structuring your future business and in applying for the visa.

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