World's most expensive visa: Australian investor visa @ Dh48m

The new service costs £600 (about Dh2,700) in addition to the regular visa fee. (Shutterstock)

A new route towards permanent residency has been announced in Australia and is set to become the most expensive visa in the world.

The Premium Investor Visa, to be launched in June next year, offers permanent residency to investors willing to invest a minimum amount of A$15 million, or Dh48m, in the local economy.

In return, investors will be able to apply for the residency status after 12 months, the speediest route to Australian residency so far.

“The Premium Investor Visa will require investment of A$15m into complying investments and provides an opportunity for Australian permanent residence after 12 months, with no residency requirements,” said Hannibal Khoury of Thames Migration, a UK-based immigration consultancy.

“This is attractive for individuals who need to travel the globe for business and keep their company growing, and are, therefore, growing the economy in Australia,” said Khoury.

The new visa complements the existing Significant Investor’s Visa, which offers foreign investors residency in four years against a minimum investment of A$5m.

With the new visa category, Australia hopes to attract the ultra-rich to generate investment in local industries requiring the financial injection.

Although the bulk of foreign investment is currently coming from the Asian region with Chinese applicants topping the list of foreign investors, the investment option in Australia suits the Middle East and the UAE in particular well, noted Khoury.

“It is surprising the UAE and Middle East investment has not seen the attraction to invest in Australia. The Australian market place is ripe for the Middle Eastern investor to take advantage of the current business offerings in Australia, and of the wealth of educated and talented individuals the country offers to help grow their business.

“I believe it is only a matter of time before the UAE begins to take interest in Australia,” he added.

The specific requirements of the new visa programme have not been announced, but are not expected to be more stringent than the lenient requirements of the existing investor’s programme, which does not pose any language or age requirements.

The residency requirement attached to this programme – where the applicant must have spent 160 days in Australia over the four-year investment term – will not be there for the new programme, a great incentive for international businessmen.

According to Khoury, there are many reasons for an investor to opt for Australia, including more than two decades of uninterrupted economic growth, high business competitiveness rankings, competitive interest rates and high investment security besides lowest political and macroeconomic risk in the Asia Pacific.

“It will be the most expensive visa of its type but it promises to be the one with the least amount of additional requirements attached, as many other programmes are much longer in time and come with certain business requirements,” he said.

The costliest investment programme at the moment is in Cyprus, where a minimum investment amount of €5m (Dh23m) is required, albeit in return for direct citizenship status.

The UK recently changed its minimum investment requirement for the Tier 1 Investor route from £1m to £2m (Dh12m).

The US offers a relatively cheap investment visa ($500,000, or Dh1.84m). However, active business requirements do exist, such as the condition to create at least 10 new jobs.

[Image: Shutterstock]

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