Australia Suspends Golden Visa, Impacting Wealthy Individuals
Australia has decided to halt its “golden visa” program, marking a significant change in immigration policies. This move is part of a broader overhaul, driven by the government’s realization that the program was generating “poor economic outcomes.”
As a part of the comprehensive reforms, the significant investor visa (SIV) program, commonly known as the “golden visa,” will be replaced, with a renewed focus on skilled worker visas. The decision to discontinue the “golden visa” program was initially mentioned in a December policy document, and the final confirmation came from Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil in a press release on Monday.
The “golden visa” program, which allowed wealthy overseas investors to live in Australia, had gained popularity since its inception in 2012. However, critics raised concerns about potential exploitation, with accusations of “corrupt officials” using the program to park illicit funds.
Government data reveals that, since its launch, thousands of SIVs were granted, with 85% of successful applicants coming from China. Candidates were required to invest over A$5 million in Australia as part of the program’s requirements, attracting foreign investment to the country.
The decision to end the “golden visa” program is attributed to its failure to meet the government’s primary objectives, as stated by Minister Clare O’Neil. This move aligns with a global trend, as more countries reconsider and eliminate their own “golden visa” programs. The UK, for instance, abolished a similar fast-track residency scheme in 2022 due to concerns about the influx of illicit Russian money.
These programs worldwide have faced scrutiny for offering expedited citizenship to wealthy non-European Union nationals. Portugal, which launched one of the most popular “golden visa” schemes, also decided to end its program amid concerns, including a housing crisis.
The European Union has expressed reservations about such programs, citing concerns that they provide undue privileges to the wealthy class, some of whom may be involved in criminal activities. Australia’s decision to suspend its “golden visa” program is part of a broader global shift away from these initiatives, reflecting a growing awareness of the potential risks and drawbacks associated with such programs.