The election promises of Australia’s two major political parties may have few synergies, but one thing they both agree on is that Australia must do more to attract entrepreneurial talent to its shores.

To this end, both parties have pledged to introduce a new entrepreneur visa if elected.  Information about the criteria of each of the proposed visas is limited, but here is a summary of what we know so far:

Liberal Party of Australia Australian Labour Party
  • Visa will form part of the existing Business, Innovation and Investment (subclass 188, 888) visa.
  • Available to emerging entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.
  • Will require financial backing from approved third party investors.
  • Business, Innovation and Investment visas are currently valid for an initial period of 4 years and 3 months.
  • Provides a pathway to permanent residency.
  • Will be introduced in the second half of 2016.
  • 2000 visas will be available annually.
  • Will require proven access to capital (circa AU$200,000) to invest in a start-up business or less if venture capital funding is obtained.
  • Will be valid for an initial period of 3 years.
  • Provides a pathway to permanent residency after 2 years.

Both parties have also stated their intention to introduce a new visa pathway for graduates who, in the case of the Liberal Party, have obtained a specialised doctorate or masters by research qualifications in science, technology, engineering or maths at Australian universities or, in the case of the Labour Party, for those graduates who have credible and genuine start-up ideas and the support of a higher education institution.