Indicating it is already approaching its limit just seven months into the 2020-21 fiscal year, the Australian state of Queensland has announced it will not be accepting further applications for BIIP nominations until next fiscal year.
The Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) part of Australia’s nationwide migration program. The central government allocates a certain number of BIIP visa nomination spots each year to the country’s different states and territories. Each state nominates their allocated number of applicants for these visas, state-level nomination being a necessary step before the visa application may be lodged with the national government.
BMSQ (Business and Skilled Migration Queensland) is the office responsible for approving nominations for applicants who want to live in Queensland and, therefore, need Queensland to nominate them for a BIIP visa. In the 2020-21 fiscal year, Queensland can nominate 1,200 applicants, about 18% of the total 6,600 nominations available.
Clearing the pipeline
Queensland’s closing for new nominations with five months left in the fiscal year indicates the state has already filled the 1,200 spots allotted to it by the central government.
In October, IMI reported that Australia’s acting Minister of Immigration had decided to nearly double the number of visas available under the BIIP in the 2020-21 fiscal year from the conventional 7,260 to 13,500 as part of a broader plan to stimulate economic growth in the wake of the pandemic.
James Hall of ANZ Migrate, a Registered Migration Agent, explains that the difference in the number of nominations allocated to the states and territories this year (6,600) and the now much-larger number of total BIIP visas available on the national level (13,500) results from the government’s desire to reduce its fast-growing application backlog.
Indeed, he points out, the Department of Home Affairs has stated that the majority of new BIIP visa approvals this year will come from the existing BIIP caseload. In other words, among the 13,500 BIIP visas expected to be approved this year, more than half will be taken from the accumulated backlog. Between October 2019 and October 2020, the number of pending BIIP applications grew from 18,682 to 23,954.
“They are also expecting processing times to decrease to 4-6 months,” says Hall. “At the moment, cases can take 2-3 years, although Significant Investor Visa [the premium subsection of the BIIP] applicants are being prioritized and are likely to be processed in less than 12 months.”
In December, the government announced a number of significant changes to the BIIP, including a reduction of the range of categories available from nine to four streams, as well as more demanding net worth and turnover requirements.
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