The Commonwealth of Australia comprises the mainland of the Australian continent and many smaller islands. By area, it is the world's sixth-largest country and is the only nation to govern an entire continent. Australia was one of the first countries to establish democracy in the modern world. The Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901 and maintains a stable liberal democratic political system comprising six states and several territories. The population of 24 million is centred in urban areas in the east and in coastal areas.
Australia is a highly developed and wealthy country with the world’s 12th largest economy; in 2015, it entered its 25th year of uninterrupted annual economic growth, averaging 2.9% per year. It ranks second in the UN’s Human Development Index.
Australia is a member of ANZUS, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, G20, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Pacific Islands Forum, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.
All foreign nationals apart from New Zealand citizens must hold a visa prior to travelling to Australia.
There are two types of migration for non-Australian citizens: temporary and permanent. Temporary resident visas allow non-Australian citizens to remain in Australia for a specified duration for purposes that may include tourism, visiting family, study, work, medical treatment etc. Many temporary visas provide a pathway to permanent residence eligibility.
Visa applicants must meet certain criteria prescribed to the appropriate visa subclass. The criteria prescribed to a visa application will include either ‘at time of lodgement’ requirements, ‘at time of decision’ requirements or a combination of both. Visa applications may be refused if an applicant does not demonstrate that they meet the criteria at the correct time. All visa subclasses include the requirement to satisfy certain health, character and public interest criteria.
Permanent residents are required to spend at least two years in five in Australia, or demonstrate significant ties to Australia, in order to maintain their residence status.
The Australian visa application process is very structured and based on laws, regulations, policy and legislative instruments. Application processing timeframes differ significantly by visa type. The Department of Immigration has a priority processing tier, under which visa applications which yield the greatest benefit to the country (skilled visas) will be assessed quicker than those with little benefit (family visas).
The Business Innovation and Investment Program includes six of the following visa streams:
There are six main streams under this program: