Australia eliminates the "golden visa" programme for wealthy investors

Australia has terminated the "Golden Visa" programme, which authorised affluent foreign investors to establish permanent residence within the nation.

In an immigration revision, it was eliminated, having been intended to entice foreign business, after the government determined that it was "producing unfavourable economic results."

Long have critics asserted that "corrupt officials" were utilising the scheme to "park illicit funds." It will be substituted with visas for qualified labourers.

According to data provided by the government, the programme has been responsible for the issuance of thousands of Significant Investor visas (SIV) from the year 2012. Of the approved applications, 85 percent were from China.

Eligibility conditions for candidates surpassed A$5 million (£2.6 million; $3.3 million) in Australian contributions. This opportunity was designed to stimulate innovation and attract foreign investment.

The government came to the conclusion, after conducting a number of assessments, that the plan had not been successful in accomplishing its primary objectives.

In a policy statement that was released in December, it was revealed that the programme would be terminated in favour of the creation of additional visas for "qualified migrants" who are "capable of making outsized contributions to Australia." "It has been clearly evident for years that this visa fails to fulfil the standards of our nation and market," Minister of Home Affairs Clare O'Neil said in a statement that was released on Monday. Moreover, the programme has been exposed to a substantial amount of scrutiny as a result of alleged "loopholes" and "vulnerabilities."

According to the findings of an inquiry conducted by the government in 2016, there were concerns over the "potential for money laundering and other illegal actions." Additionally, the investigation revealed that the visas were facilitating the entry of individuals with "less business acumen" into Australia than would have entered otherwise, all while providing taxpayer-detrimental tax concessions.

Certain asset managers have contested these appraisals, arguing that the subsequent investment from SIVs has been far higher than the initial investment of A$5 million by a significant margin.

In spite of this, a newspaper in Australia published an article in 2022 stating that those associated with the Hun Sen dictatorship in Cambodia were among the unscrupulous characters who had used the system.

It has also been asserted that Bill Browder, a significant figure in the establishment of the Magnitsky Act, which is a piece of law in the United States that is intended to make individuals accountable for atrocities that have been committed in other countries, is not in favour of the idea.

In response to the decision made by the government, the Chief Executive Officer of Transparency International Australia, Clancy Moore, stated to the sources that "Golden Visas have been exploited by corrupt politicians and kleptocrats for far too long to lodge their illicit funds in Australia and, potentially, conceal the profits of crime."

Australia is now following in the footsteps of the United Kingdom, which, in 2022, terminated a scheme that gave expedited immigration to the ultra-wealthy. This decision was made due to concerns surrounding the influx of illegal finances from Russia.