What is a subclass 188A visa?

Subclass 188A visa is a temporary visa for overseas entrepreneurs/investors to come to Australia to invest by buying an existing business or establishing a new one. It is a great opportunity to live, study and work in one of the best countries in the world.


What is a subclass 188A visa


The applicants and their family members can apply for a permanent resident subclass 888 visa if they meet the requirements.


The benefits of the subclass 188A visa


Benefits Details
Residence  Staying in Australia for up to 5 years.
Business and investment  The applicants are allowed to invest, run a new business or buy an existing business in Australia.
Education and working  Working and studying in Australia.
Working and studying in Australia  Being able to travel outside Australia and return as many times as they want while the visa is valid.
Sponsor family members  Being able to sponsor family members after obtaining PR.
Applying for Australian citizenship, if eligible  Permanent resident visa holders have the opportunity to apply to become Australian citizens.

If you have any inquiries about the Business Innovation Stream, please contact us for more information.


The requirements of the subclass 188A visa

The requirements of the subclass 188A visa (stage 1)

In order to successfully apply for this temporary visa, you must meet the following requirements:


Requirements Details
Age  Under 55 years old at the time of the visa lodgement.
Be nominated  Applicants must be nominated by an Australian State before being invited to apply for this visa.
Business ownership

 Owning and directly running a business/businesses for at least 2 financial years.

 The ownership percentage in those 2 years must be:

  • 51%: if the business’s turnover is less than 400,000 AUD per year
  • 30%: if the business’s turnover is 400,000 AUD or more per year
  • 10%: if the business is a publicly listed company.
Net business and personal assets
  • Minimum personal and business assets: 1,250,000 AUD (can be combined with spouse’s assets).
  • Applicants must be able to prove the source of funds.
  • Applicant’s funds must be available to transfer to Australia within 2 years of the visa grant.
  • For 2 out of 4 fiscal years immediately before applicants receive an invitation to apply, the turnover of the business must be at least 750,000 AUD.
  • If the turnover is less than 750,000 AUD, the applicant must own 40% of the shares.
The Australian skilled points test  Applicants must achieve a minimum of 65 points.
English  At least 4.5 IELTS, or equivalent (applicants may be asked to pay an additional fee if they do not meet the requirements).
Health and character
  • Must meet the health requirements.
  • Have no debt to the Australian Government. If so, applicants must have paid it back or have an approved arrangement in place to pay it back.
  • Have no criminal background.
  • Not having had a visa canceled.
Criminal Records
  • Have not been refused or canceled by the Australian Government.
  • Have no debt to the Australian Government. If so, applicants must have paid it back or have an approved arrangement in place to pay it back.
  • Have no criminal background.
Where to lodge a visa  Depending on the specific circumstances, applicants may be inside or outside Australia
Where to receive a visa

If you believe that you are eligible for the subclass 188A visa, please continue referring to further information below. Otherwise, contact us!


immigration consultants in australia
Immigration service in Australia


At VEM, our licensed migration specialist – Mr. Phong Cao who has been an Australian investment consultant for many years will evaluate and advise you on the best business/investment visa pathway. With many successful cases and practical experience, Mr. Phong Cao is confident to accompany you for the whole journey.

If you find the subclass 188A visa not attractive enough, please refer to the business innovation and investment visa Australia for further information.


The requirements of subclass 888A visa (stage 2)


Requirements Details
Residence time  Must reside in Australia for at least 1 year in the last 2 years before applying for a subclass 888A visa.
Business operation

 During 2 years prior to subclass 888A visa lodgement, applicants must have:

  • Own and run a business that meets the requirements (applicants can have up to 2 businesses).
  • Continue to manage their business activities directly.
  • Have submitted a business activity report to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Turnover  One year prior to visa application lodgement, the turnover of businesses must be at least 300,000 AUD.
Assets and employees
  • Business assets: at least 200,000AUD.
  • Personal and business assets: At least 600,000AUD.
  • At least 2 eligible employees who are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens. And, they are not family members of the applicants
Be nominated  Must have a new nomination from the state where they are investing.
Commitment  Must have a firm commitment to continuing their business activities in Australia.
Criminal Records
  • Applicants must comply with Australian laws.
  • Do not involve in any illegal activities.
  • Have no debt to the Australian government.


How migration points for a subclass 188a visa are counted?

Applicants must score at least 65


Standard Requirements Points
Age 18 – 24 years old 20
25 – 32 years old 30
33 – 39 years old 25
40 – 44 years old 20
45 – 54 years old 15
Over 55 years old 0
English level IELTS 5.0 or above 5
IELTS 7.0 or above 10
  • Certificates or Bachelor’s degree in business from educational institutions in Australia.
  • A Bachelor’s degree is awarded by a qualified educational institution.
Graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in business, science or technology from a qualified Australian institution/ educational institution. 10
Net personal and Business assets Total personal and business assets of applicants and his/her spouse in the last 2 financial years:
Over 1,250,000AUD 5
Over 1,750,000AUD 15
Over 2,250,000AUD 25
Over 2,750,000AUD 35
Business Turnover For 2 out of 4 fiscal years prior to the time of application, annual business revenue must be:
Over 750,000AUD 5
Over 1,250,000AUD 15
Over 1,750,000AUD 25
Over 2,250,000AUD 35
Business Statement At the time applicants receives the invitation, the business has been running:
More than 4 years 10
More than 7 years 15
Total Investment Prior to applying for a visa, applicants must have owned at least AUD 250,000 in investment funds:
More than 4 years 10
More than 7 years 15
Has a registered patent at least 1 year 15
Has a registered trademark 1 year ago 10
Applicants directly run their business for at least 1 year before applying for the visa 5
Applicants’ shares are equal to or more than 50% of the company’s annual turnover from the export trade 15

For the last 5 years:

  • There are 3 consecutive financial years where the average annual revenue growth is higher than 20%.
  • At least once in those 3 years the business has at least 10 employees working. The minimum total working hours of these employees must be equal to those of full-time employees.
  • The business owner received a government subsidy which is at least 10,000 AUD during the period of starting the business.
  • The minimum venture capital funds is 100,000 AUD (within 4 years before applicants are invited to start an early-stage business, the commercialization concept of a product, develop the business, or expand the business).
Certifications A state or territorial government in Australia certifies that the applicants’ business is the only entity of particular interest to the region. 10


Step-by-step of the subclass 188A visa

Step 1: Considering the possibility of being eligible for this visa.
Step 2: Preparing documents.
Step 3: Applying for a State’s nomination.
Step 4: Receiving a State’s nomination and invitation to apply for the visa.
Step 5: Applying for the visa
Step 6: Receiving visa lodgement confirmation.
Step 7: Providing additional documents if requested.
Step 8: Being granted the subclass 188A Visa.


Step-by-step of the subclass 188A visa


What must prepare for the subclass 188A visa documents


Documents Details
Identification papers
  • Passport photos.
  • Certified copies of the applicant’s passport.
  • Certified copies of the applicants’ ID cards.
  • Certified copies of the applicant’s birth certificate.
  • Marriage certificates (if any).
  • Proof of change of name, if applicable
Business documents Business Overview
  • Details of the functional areas of business.
  • Describes the business activities.
  • Business Organizational Chart.
  • Photos of the location and business activities (no more than 6 pictures).
Business Ownership Applicants provide evidence of ownership of a company, such as:

  • A certificate of incorporation
  • A business license
  • Submitted documents that prove applicants’ annual capital contribution to the company.

You can schedule a consultation session with VEM for a complete list of required documents!

Prove the right to run the company
  • Provide evidence demonstrating the continuity of direct management and business operation.
  • Validity of evidence: must be within 2 out of 4 fiscal years before the nominated applicant submits the nomination application.
Proof of the originality of the assets

Applicants must provide documents proving their assets are transparent such as

  • If the asset is cash: provide a bank statement.
  • If the property is real estate: certificate of ownership.
  • If the property is a personal loan: loan agreement, loan statement, and repayment schedule.
  • If assets are stocks and bonds: certificate of ownership of shares.
  • If assets from operating activities: financial statements.

Providing proof of the above documents is not easy. In fact, many entrepreneurs take lots of time to prepare documents because the information provided is not clear and convincing enough. At VEM, our Migration Specialist will advise and assist you through.

Proof of business loss (if any) If the business is at a loss or is no longer able to be paid, applicants need to describe this in detail.
English Provide proof of the applicant’s eligibility.
Migration points Provide evidence of at least 65 points.
Documents for accompanying person (if any)
  • Identification papers.
  • Proof of his/her eligibility.
  • Proof of the relationship with the main applicants.


The cost of the subclass 188A visa


Visa application charge installments Visa costs

(not including 1.4% surcharge)

Main applicants

Additional applicants
Over 18 years old Under 18 years old
First installment: the time of lodging a visa application. 9,450 AUD 4,725 AUD 2,365 AUD
Second installment: Additional applicants who are 18 years old or older have less than functional English (4.5 IELTS). 9,795 AUD 4,890 AUD 0 AUD


Any kind of refund is impossible when the application is rejected. Additionally, when a visa is refused, there is not only financial lose, but time and especially opportunities for your whole family!


How to stay in Australia when the subclass 188A visa expired?

During 5 years of holding the subclass 188A visa, applicants need to meet the visa requirements of a subclass 888A visa. But if not satisfied, applicants can renew the subclass 188A visa once to have more time to complete the requirements (only apply for the visa was applied and granted before 01/01/2021).


How to stay in Australia when the subclass 188A visa expired


If you are VEM’s client, your entire visa journey will be accompanied. It is important to achieve your permanent residency as soon as possible.


The processing times of a subclass 188A visa

The applicants will wait for more than 2.5 years to receive the application results.


Processing times
75% of applications 33 Months
90% of applications 36 Months

In order to get the best choice for future orientation, investors can refer to information about other types of investment visas such as: subclass 188B visa, subclass 188C visa, subclass 188E visa.



VEM’s customer – Ms. Susan Le has just been granted subclass 188A visa – Business Innovation stream just before the Australian Government increases the requirements. Ms. Diem is now in Australia for the second permanent residence stage.


VEM’s customer who is granted the subclass 188A visa


Clients applying for the subclass 188A visa with VEM always receive more than just a visa. For example, Ms. Thu Giang Nguyen – a client accompanied by VEM, is preparing for the final stage of applying for a subclass 888A visa.

Following her experience during the visa application process in the video below.


VEM’s customer who is granted the subclass 188A visa


Frequently asked questions

What assets can i use to prove that i meet the subclass 188a visa eligibility requirements?

  • Valid sources of assets, such as: cash, savings accounts, real estate, loans, stocks or bonds,….

I want to use my real estate to prove property eligibility. my real estate is currently mortgaged at the bank, can i use it for subclass 188a visa financial requirement?

  • The answer is yes. But depending on the purpose for which you take a mortgage, the value of the property may decrease. This issue is quite complicated, if you need to find out, you should consult with VEM’s specialist!

I want to settle in Australia permanently via a subclass 188a visa. however, i do not want to run a business in Australia, is there another way to meet the requirements for a permanent visa – subclass 888a?

  • Absolutely possible. But keep in mind that the business has never been used for subclass 888A visa purposes.
    When you acquire a business, you need to ask the owner of that business to commit to the issue. If you are not secure, contact VEM now!

I am worried that i would not be able to meet the requirement to apply for a subclass 888a visa. so, during the period of holding a subclass 188a visa and doing business, if i can not meet the subclass 888a visa requirements, can i switch to another kind of business?

  • A subclass 188A visa is valid for 5 years. And you can only change your type of business in the first 2 years of holding this visa.


When applying for a subclass 188A visa, is it necessary to prove the origin of my assets?

The answer is yes. You must be able to prove your assets are legitimate. The way of providing evidence may be different. You can review section 6 for details!

I am a senior manager of a business. I want to apply for a subclass 188A visa for temporary stay, then apply for the subclass 888A visa for permanent residence. But on documents, I do not have any shares in that company. Can I apply for a visa?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. An applicant must own a minimum of 30% of the shares of the operating company. If you do not own any shares, you should refer to another investment visa.

Do I need English for a subclass 188A visa?

Subclass 188A visa only requires 4.5 IELTS (or equivalent result). And if you can have a higher English level you can increase your immigration points. You can review part 4 for a better understanding.

In order to apply for a subclass 888A visa, how long do I have to live in Australia when holding a subclass 188A visa?

You must live at least 1 in 2 years before applying for the subclass 888A visa.

Can I sponsor relatives that come with a subclass 188A visa?

Unfortunately no until you become a permanent resident.

Do I have to apply for a subclass 188A visa inside or outside Australia?

It depends on your actual situation. VEM needs more information for accurate advice. Please call VEM’s hotline and schedule a consultation.

Will I be able to leave Australia when I am granted a subclass 188A Visa?

Of course yes. You can go in and out Australia within the duration of your visa.


Lots of entrepreneurs/investors apply for this subclass 188A visa this year. You should complete and submit the application as soon as possible. If you need help from our licensed migration specialist – Mr. Phong Cao, contact VEM now! Moreover, we have a preferential program for this investment visa!


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