Amend the “shortcomings” of the significant investor visa program: AVCAL

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The government can’t lose the opportunity to look into the shortcomings of Australia’s significant investor visa program in its just-announced review of the regime, say AVCAL.

The Australian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL) is urging the government to consider expanding the program to include intermediated investments through private equities and venture capital funds.

CEO Yasser El-Ansary said the program is now an essential part of the policy framework and it helps to make Australia an attractive destination for foreign capital; however, it is lacking this asset class.

“There is no policy basis to justify excluding these funds from the significant investor visa regime, and so that should be addressed by the government as part of the wholesale review into the existing rules in this area,” he said.

AVCAL has campaigned for some time that the list of eligible asset classes should be expanded to allow high net worth business migrants to play a more significant role in supporting investment in small and medium sized enterprises across all sectors of the Australian economy.

Many other countries, including the US, Singapore, New Zealand and the UK, use such programs to attract foreign investments, El-Ansary said.

“Our economy is in the middle of major structural transformation across many industry sectors, and so we need to look at every opportunity to support investment in Australian businesses that can compete in a globalised marketplace”.

Businesses must be innovative, and boosting the availability of capital investment is vital in supporting the development of new technologies and processes, he added.

AVCAL listed the extension of the significant investor visa regime as one of three key policy reforms that should be adopted as part of the looming 2014-15 federal budget.

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