A Guide to Starting a Business in Australia as a Foreigner

There are numerous reasons why anyone would be interested in starting a business in Australia. It’s a developed nation with a very agreeable climate. The economy is diverse and offers opportunities in a variety of industries. The country is also a member of the G20, Commonwealth of Nations, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ANZUS, Asia-pacific Economic Cooperation, World Trade Organization, and the Pacific Islands Forum.


Australia has for a long time enjoyed a stabled economic growth rate, the unemployment rate is moderate and levels of research and capital investment are high.




What follows are a few guidelines on how to start a business in Australia if you are a foreigner.


Feasibility study

Nobody should ever start a business anywhere before having done some research on whether there is a market for the product or service they want to sell in that particular area. Also, find out everything you can about the existing competition before considering whether you will be able to compete with them.


Business Structure 

Once you’ve decided to go ahead the next step is to decide on a business structure. Do you want to set up a totally new business, or take over an existing one? Or would you prefer registering as a foreign business?


Once that decision has been made, a decision needs to be taken about whether the business will operate as a sole proprietor, a company, a trust or a partnership. Each of these options comes with a separate set of rules and will have legal and tax implications and determine which type of license is necessary.


A good idea at this stage is to contact a good migration consultant who is familiar with local conditions.


Visa Types



There are two types of visa available to individuals who are interested in starting a business in Australia as a foreigner: the Business Innovation and Investment Visa and the Business Talent Visa. We will examine each one below.


Business Innovation and Investment Visa

This type of visa enables foreigners to do business in Australia to take part in numerous types of entrepreneurial activities, own a business and manage that business, and take care of all business- and investment-related activities.

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Subclass 188 is issued for a period of four years and three months at a time and comes in three ‘streams’: Investor Stream, Significant Investor Stream, and Premium Investor Stream. The amounts needed to start a business for each stream are AU$ 1.5 million, AU$ 5 million and AU$ 15 million, respectively. You’ll have completed the first step towards getting a Permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa subclass 888.

You also have to pass a health assessment.


Business Talent Visa

This type of visa is available to people who either want to develop an existing business in Australia or to start a new one. You have to be nominated by either a state or government agency and invited to apply. You also need a business turnover of at least AU$ 3 million and assets worth AU$ 1.5 million for the Significant Business History Stream, or if you are applying for the Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream you should be funded to the amount of AU$ 1 million or more by an Australian venture capital business.

Finally, you once again have to pass a health assessment.


Getting the Necessary Business Premises

Buying, leasing and developing commercial property in Australia are facilitated by local, regional and state authorities. Keep in mind that all of them don’t have the same assessment requirements (e.g. environmental assessments), and different areas might have different regulations controlling the various types of businesses.


Where to Do Businesses in Australia

Depending on the type of business you want to start, certain areas of the country might be better suited than others. We would suggest starting with a list of popular regions and then investigate each one’s strong and weak points as far the potential for your specific type of venture is concerned.


The following cities are particularly worth considering given their excellent infrastructure and established markets: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.


Get the Best Migration Lawyer to Help Out

Before you make the final decision there’s one step that is non-negotiable: getting the best migration lawyer. Starting a business in a new country always comes with pitfalls, and trying to save a few bucks here might, in the end, prove to be a very expensive mistake.


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