None issued yet, but significant visa applications dominated by Chinese investors eyeing NSW and Victoria

While the federal Department of Immigration has yet to issue any Significant Investment Visas (SIVs), over 200 applications from Chinese investors and a smattering of other nationalities should soon be in the post.

Most are targeting investments in NSW and Victoria, and the granting of the visas is expected to have positive reverberations for the top-end property markets in cities like Sydney and Melbourne, where demand for prestige real estate has been low compared with more affordably priced properties.

The SIVs, colloquially called "Golden Ticket" visas are available to wealthy investors who can invest $5 million in approved investments for four years and are then eligible for permanent residency. There is no English language requirement, though they must stay in Australia at least 160 days within those four years.

The applicant, spouse and dependent family members can live in Australia immediately after approval.

While the rules of the SIV specifically exclude direct investment in real estate, applicants can invest in an unlisted managed fund that holds Australian direct property assets and/or a trading business/ company.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Immigration, 222 invitations have been issued to investors to apply for a SIV.

This is up from the 131 invitations to apply issued by late February.

Of these, 212 invitations have been issued to Chinese investors with the remaining ten coming from Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Hong Kong and the US.

Almost half (101) of these invitations are for applicants looking to invest in NSW, with 81 in Victoria and 29 in Queensland.

A surprisingly small number – just 8 – are looking to invest in mining-rich WA with three planning to invest in South Australia.

The 222 invitations issued by the Department of Immigration follow it receiving 345 expressions of interest from Chinese investors, seven from Hong Kong, two from India, three from Japan, four from Singapore, two from Taiwan, three from the US and one application each from 13 other countries.

Earlier this month, Knight Frank established a special sales team specifically targeting wealthy Chinese investors following the introduction of the significant investment visa (SIV).

The Knight Frank team includes Chinese born agents and people with experience dealing with Asian investment, led by Dominic Ong.

Ong believes 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.

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

Th SIV program was launched in November last year.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer


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