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No more ‘buying your way into the country’ as government suspends millionaires’ visa

A visa program allowing wealthy investors to buy their way into Australia has been dumped under a review of the nation’s migration system.

Jan 22, 2024, updated Jan 22, 2024
Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The Albanese government has paused applications for the significant investor visa, which fast-tracks the process for skilled migrants if they invest $5 million in Australia.

It will be considered as part of a broader talent and innovation visa outlined in the migration strategy, released in December.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the troubled program – introduced by the Gillard government in 2012 – was part of a “broken” system Labor had inherited.

“It has been obvious for years that this visa is not delivering what our country and economy needs from a migration system,” Ms O’Neil said on Monday.

“The investor visa is one of many aspects of the system which we are reforming to create a system which delivers for our country.”

The visa required a minimum investment of $5 million in Australia, in exchange for automatic permanent residency.

Unlike other visas, holders of the investor one weren’t required to learn or speak English and had no age limit.

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There are concerns golden visa schemes allow corrupt foreign officials and members of organised crime groups to safe-keep dirty money in developed countries such as Australia.

A major review of Australia’s migration system found skilled migrants contribute $300,000 more to the economy over their lifetime than those who bought their way into the country.

A targeted talent and innovation visa would create a streamlined pathway to attract highly skilled migrants to Australia, including entrepreneurs, investors and ­global researchers to drive growth in sectors considered of national importance, it found.

The review by former public servant chief Martin Parkinson, found Australia’s system failed to attract highly skilled migrants and allowed worker exploitation among lower-paid people.

 

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