Slow pickup in investor visa hurt venture capital

30 June 2020

By Oksana Patron 

A slowdown in significant investor visa (SII) processing times is leading to difficulties in funding for venture capital and emerging companies, in particular for those struggling to survive the post-COVID-19 recession, according to Atlas Advisors. 

The concerns around the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) could be stalled beyond July, creating uncertainty and further funding constraints for organisations that were already on the brink. 

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“The Australian economy risks losing billions of dollars, jobs and future innovation if this occurs,” Atlas’ executive chair, Guy Hedley, said. 

“These are startups and emerging companies that have the prospects of becoming global leaders in health, technology, agribusiness and manufacturing but are now on the verge of collapse.” 

According to Hedley, priority should be given to higher net worth migrant applicants to SII, Investor Visa and Premium Investor Visa programs that would bring substantially greater investment and longer-term benefits to the Australian economy. 

“The current cap on BIIP applications means Australia’s economy has closed itself off from millions of dollars that could assist our recovery,” he said. 

Additionally, this could also offset the serious ramifications of an expected 85% fall in migration in the 2020/21 financial year compared to 2019/20. 

By comparison, it took up to six months to process applications in 2015 while currently it takes up to two years, the firm said. 

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