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Visa changes for innovation

This blog post is part of a series of three on our role in supporting the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.Innovative ideas

On 7 December 2015, the Australian Government announced the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), which includes a range of initiatives to drive prosperity in Australia through innovation and science.

As part of the NISA, we are making changes to the visa system to help Australia attract the best and brightest entrepreneurial talent and the skilled, talented people we need to drive innovative ideas.

New Entrepreneur visa

From 10 September 2016, a new Entrepreneur visa will be available as a new part of our Business Innovation and Investment Programme. The Entrepreneur visa will allow entrepreneurs with $200,000 in funding from a specified third party to develop and commercialise their innovative ideas in Australia. It also provides a pathway to permanent residency.

To be eligible for the Entrepreneur visa, you must:

  • be under 55-years-old
  • have a competent level of English
  • have an agreement in place for at least $200,000 to grow your entrepreneurial venture in Australia
  • hold at least 30 per cent interest in that entrepreneurial venture
  • be nominated by a state or territory government.

Your $200,000 in funding can come from Commonwealth agencies, state and territory governments, publicly funded research organisations, investors registered as Venture Capital Limited Partnerships or Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships, or any combination of these.

If you are a co-founder of an entrepreneurial venture, you and your other co-founders can apply for an Entrepreneur visa for the same venture, as long as you each have a 30 per cent share when you enter into your funding agreement.

Expressions of Interest for the Entrepreneur visa will open in SkillSelect from 10 September 2016.

Points tested programme changes

We are also making changes to the points test for the skilled migration programme. From 10 September 2016, five additional points will be available for students from Australian institutions with doctorate-level and masters by research qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and information and communication technology fields.

Visit our website to learn more.

Comments (3)


It's so good to see Australia encouraging these innovators. For too long our best minds have been lured overseas by better conditions and opportunities, especially in the tech sector.

Now we're actively encouraging the talent to come to Australia. I'm looking forward to the improvements our economy will see as we begin to attract motivated and innovative minds.


How does this newly added 5 points comes to EOI? still it's not active in EOI, can we add this 5 points to existing EOI or do we need to a create new EOI to get this 5 points, please clarify.Thanks


Hi Arosh – If you have answered yes to the Australian study requirement, you will be presented with the Specialist Education Qualification (SEQ) question where you may be eligible to claim an additional 5 points for the SEQ. If you have already submitted your EOI prior to 10 September and believe you are eligible for the SEQ, you can update your existing EOI and claim the additional points.
Thank you for your comment.