Knight Frank launches significant investor visa team ahead of Chinese investment influx

Alistair WalshApril 1, 20130 min read

Knight Frank has created a special sales team specifically targeting wealthy Chinese investors following the introduction of the significant investment visa (SIV)

The head of the team, Dominic Ong, says the 888 visa - colloquially called the "Golden Ticket" visa -favours Chinese investors.

“Although the rules of the SIV specifically exclude direct investment in real estate, SIV applicants are allowed to invest in an unlisted managed fund that holds Australian direct property assets and/or a trading business/ company,” Ong says.

Investors can invest $5 million in approved investments for four years and be eligible for permanent residency.

No SIVs have been issued by the Department of Immigration since the program was launched at the end of November last year.

A spokesperson for the department told Property Observer last month that, 287 expressions of interest had been processed, with 131 invitations to apply issued by late February.

Interest has been concentrated on investments in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

There are no English speaking requirements, but applicants must stay in Australia for at least 160 days within those four years and the applicant, spouse and dependent family members can live in Australia immediately after approval.

The Knight Frank team includes Chinese born agents and people with experience dealing with Asian investment.

Ong says the creation of division is imperative for Knight Frank with the massive spending power of the Chinese and the increasing presence of China’s wealthy individuals and funds in the Australia commercial market.

“With the recent Sydney purchases of the Sydney Water Board site ($100 million), 231 Elizabeth Street ($201 million), 1 York Street ($117 million), 10 Barrack Street ($62.5 million), 333 Kent Street ($48 million), 80 Alfred Street ($49 million) and the Palazzo Versace Hotel in Queensland ($68.5 million), Chinese investors are becoming even more prominent on our local shores,” Ong says.

He predicts Chinese spending overseas is increasing and won’t peak for another five years.

“During my recent visit to Shanghai and Beijing, we are seeing Chinese investors increasingly looking to diversify their portfolios and they view Australia as a safe haven and a long term investment destination,” Ong says.

“We are currently working with some 20 groups of Chinese investors sourcing office towers and shopping centres to hotel investment and land development projects.”

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter
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