26 October, 2015
Hon. Peter Dutton MP
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
PO Box 6022
Canberra ACT 2600
An Open Letter to Propose: Visa Amendments to Favor Regional Growth
Dear Hon. Peter Dutton MP,
I am a registered migration agent since 2000. My registration number is RMA #0005245. During the years, I have witnessed many changes in the immigration policies of Australia. Fortunately, I have been blessed at the forefront of consulting potential migrants and servicing them alongside their immigration journey. Most of our clients (80%+) were Chinese, and most are Chinese businessmen or investors. Recently, I have been in constant contact with many of the investors and successful business people, because most of them are part of my Australia China Entrepreneurs’ Club, actually, I have also been involved in bringing some of them to invest heavily here, where we have our dinner tonight, the Entrance area of the Central Coast.
The following are some of my thoughts and the thoughts of some of the business people/investors in the Australia China space. I am writing to express our immense concerns, as well as sharing our thoughts in regards to the current immigration policies in Australia.
Recommendation 1: SIV (Significant Investors Visa) needs to be amended to cater MORE for the economic development of regional Australia.
Since the introduction of SIV on 24th Nov, 2013, it has been enthusiastically embraced after an initial hesitation from the clients and processing delay from Hongkong. SIV is a great way to bring overseas investment to Australia; however, due to challenges faced by regional Australia, incentives should be provided to allow investors a choice of investing less, but longer, in regional, low populated areas. (ie, investing $2m in managed fund, $1m+ in regional business or rural properties)
Throughout the SIV process, steps should be taken to give the applicants a bit more confident. One of the many possible solutions could be that the SIV investors can nominate a few high executivesunder the Employer Nomination Schemefrom their home countryto join the Australian team or the projects they invested in to help them manage the projects more wisely, which they will be more confident of the overall project management and long term investment in Australia, especially in the regional area of Australia.
Recommendation 2: Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (RSMS-subclass 187) should be encouraged.
RSMS visa policy should be relaxed by having less rules and encourage workforce stay or live in regional areas for no less than 3 years. This depends on capitals, resources especially human capital resources. The regional area of Australia needs more human capital to boost local economy. For the controversial 457 visa class, we proposed that you consider the three potential streams to encourage the population move instead of current skills stream:
- Lower or Waive English language requirements for 457 real skilled workers(AQF qualified) to work in regional Australia, but for longer period of time, for 3 years before they can apply for 186(permanent resident, Employer Nomination Scheme), and require them to stay and work in regional Australia for a further 3 years after the grant of their permanent visa.
- To allow some semi skilled workers to work in designated jobs, in regional Australia. There’s a huge shortage for semi skilled jobs that Australians are unwilling to do, why not introduce a stream to allow people to work in them? A lower wage threshold should be introduced as well.. Baby sitter, day-carer, car washers, fruit pickers, just to name a few)
- Direct entry for recent graduates who finish their study properly in Australia. We proposed that special policy made to encourage those graduates who have good academic background and prepared to work and stay in regional Australia for not less than 5 years, great incentives be provided, either in the form of concessional English, or allow them to invest not less than A$300K to set up a regional business and create 1 or 2 full time jobs in exchange for a permanent residents. And if a couple is going, then, only 1 full time job needs to be created. Australia has trained them so hard and well, and they have invested their future into Australia through years of study here. Australia needs this young and Australia loving generation who are hard working, energetic and likely to have connections back in their home country who could also benefit Australia immensely.
Recommendation 3: Business talent 132 visa: Special consideration needs to be given to regional Australia in terms of 132 visa.
Concession be provided to attract high caliber business people to set up business in regional Australia. The barely used 132 visa venture capital stream need to be revisited to allow and attract more innovation in Australia .
The last recommendation is not regionally related, but maybe useful…
Recommendation 4: The current PIV (Premium Investor Visa) policy and process may be just a well- wisher, not practical…
The current implementation of PIV does not have ANY industry involvement, while current practice is the Austrade staff acts as the head-hunter, and spot the suitably qualified super, super high caliber business people, designed to attract more Americans? My questions is, are these people willing when we feel that they are qualified? My simple estimate is that no more than 10 people would be able to use the PIV visa visa stream during this financial year. I hope that I would be proven wrong by next July. We need to amend the policy now to avoid a huge opportunity cost.
I hope you find the above comments useful. Details can be discussed if required. The idea of making such proposal is not to make Australia regionally attractive, but internationally competitive…
Director/ABC World Pty Ltd
Int’l Ambassador/SME Association of Australia
Chairman/Australia China Entrepreneurs’ Club
Reply from Hon. Peter Dutton: