Skilled South Africans are increasingly looking to Australia’s Temporary Skill Shortage and Business Talent visas as a path to permanent residency in the country.
Sam Hopwood, Australian migration agent for Sable International, says that there is currently significant interest from SMME business owners with the means to emigrate:
“We’re seeing more South Africans who are nervous about their business security and assets, and they aren’t tyre-kickers, they’re serious about moving,” he said.
Below Hopwood outlined the two visa options and the requirements for South Africans interested in applying.
Business Talent Visa
Hopwood said that the Business Talent visa gives you the opportunity to operate a new or existing business in Australia and immediately obtain a permanent visa, so it lets you stay in Australia indefinitely.”
He added that the visa also lets you work and study in Australia, enrol in Australia’s public health care scheme, sponsor certain relatives to come to Australia, and if you are eligible you can apply for Australian citizenship.
To apply, business owners must be able to demonstrate a successful business career and a genuine desire to own and manage a business in Australia, he said.
“There are a host of qualifying criteria but most importantly, you do need to have total net assets worth AUD1.5 million (R15.19 million) or more, and the total annual turnover of your business must be at least AUD3 million (R30.3 million), but it’s definitely the best option,” said Hopwood.
He said that applicants must also be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency before being invited to apply for this visa.
Temporary Skills Shortage Visa
An alternative option is the Temporary Skills Shortage Visa, which temporarily allows an employer to sponsor a suitably skilled worker to fill a position in their Australian business.
Businesses that operate outside of Australia can sponsor employees to work in Australia.
These sponsorships help international businesses who want to establish a presence in the Australian market or have contracts in Australia that need to be services by the overseas business.
This visa lets you establish your business in Australia and provides a pathway from temporary to permanent residence. In addition to the overseas business sponsorship, you will also need to apply for a Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS).
“If you have a business with legs in South Africa, this is a good option. It allows your business an opportunity to expand into Australia and to sponsor employees or directors of the business directly on a work visa into Australia,” said Hopwood.
The visa applicant must be nominated to work in an occupation on the medium and long-term skills list. Depending on the occupation they might need a degree or five years of experience and have at least two years relevant work experience in your nominated occupation or a related field.
“If you have a business with a competitive product which you can move easily, like software developers, it’s a good option. What many of our clients do is they leave their cost centre in SA, importing off a low-cost base and continuing to leverage off their SA based teams,” said Hopwood.
The visa allows you to work in Australia for up to four years, and if eligible, you can apply for permanent residence.
To make the transition from a temporary residence visa to a permanent residence visa, your Australian-based company must first obtain a standard business sponsorship (SBS). You can apply for an SBS once your company is up and running in Australia.