While Australia tries to steer boats crammed with immigrants away from its shores, it is beckoning wealthy foreigners with a new visa that smooths the path to Australian residency — for a price.
Under a new visa program that goes into effect Sunday, skilled migrants don’t have to pass the usual tests that rate their skills, experience and English ability. The age limit is out the window. But there’s something extra that would-be Australians need to do to be eligible: Invest more than $5.2 million in Australia.
Migration agents are reportedly calling it “the golden visa.” Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has plugged the program as a way to boost the Australian economy and compete for “high net-worth individuals.” Investors can plunk their money into government bonds, managed funds that invest in Australian assets, or Australian companies that meet specific standards and aren’t listed on the stock exchange.
It was no coincidence that the visa category number is 888 — an especially lucky number for the Chinese, immigration attorney Michael Sing told the Sydney Morning Herald. Wealthy Chinese have flocked to other countries to enjoy a better quality of life, from cleaner air to less corruption.