Start a business as a non-citizen

Sep 15, 2020

by Australian Government Business

Understand why you'll need a specific work visa to start and run a business in Australia as a non-citizen. Once you have a work visa, find what steps you need to take to start your business.

When you start a business as a non-citizen you need to make sure you know:

  • how to get the right visa
  • what legal and government requirements apply to Australian businesses

Obtain the right visa


The Department of Home Affairs is responsible for Australian business visas. If you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you'll need a visa to work in Australia.

Business Innovation and Investment visas

If you have business skills and want to set up and manage a new or existing business in Australia, take a look at the Business Innovation and Investment visas.

Before you can apply for these visas, you must be nominated by a state or territory government.

Generally, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Submit an expression of interest through the Department of Home Affairs’ SkillSelect online service.
  2. See if a state or territory government or the CEO of Austrade decides to invite you to apply for a visa. You can wait for a state or territory government to contact you, or you can contact them directly.
  3. If you receive an invitation, you can then apply for a visa. You’ll need to meet certain requirements and provide documents to support your application.

If you’re granted a Business Innovation and Investment provisional visa, it’ll be valid for 4 years and 3 months.

Provisional visa holders may be able to apply for a permanent visa once certain requirements are met.

Business Talent visas

You may also be eligible for the Business Talent visa if you have been:

  • nominated by a state or territory government agency
  • invited to apply for the visa
  • have the required funding or assets

This is a permanent visa. There are 2 types of business talent visas.

Significant business history stream

For experienced business owners looking to operate a new or existing business in Australia.

To be eligible you need to have:

  • a net value of at least AUD $1.5 million
  • an annual business turnover of at least AUD $3 million

Venture Capital Entrepreneur stream

This is for business people who are looking at starting a new business in Australia and have sourced venture capital funding from a member of the Australian Investment Council (AIC).

To be eligible you need to have at least AUD $1 million in venture capital funding in Australia to develop a high-value business idea.

For more information and help on what business visa you should apply for go to the Explore your visa options on the Home Affairs website.

Setting up your business in Australia


The money and time it takes to start and run a business in Australia varies greatly, and depends on the type of business you'd like to run and the supplies and licences you need. To help you understand what’s involved, have a look at the following resources:

  • Starting a business guide – this guide provides information about business planning, different business types, and the steps to take to start a business in Australia.
  • Legal essentials for your business – this page covers common legal areas you may need to comply with when running a business in Australia.
  • Starting a company – this page provides information about company structures, legal obligations and Australian Company Numbers.
  • Australian Business Licence and Information Service – a service that provides information about the government:
    • licences
    • permits
    • approvals
    • registrations
    • codes of practice
    • standards and guidelines

The post about “Start a business as a non-citizen" first appeared on the Australian Government Business website.

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