Please see below the responses to frequently asked questions about the 491 Small Business Owners Pathway.

 

How do I let BSMQ know that I want to apply for the 491 – Small Business Owner (SBO)?

You need to lodge an EOI and then an online 491-SBO Assessment form and submit it back to us by clicking on the submit button.

Do I need an occupation on the onshore QSOL?

No. You do, however, need an occupation on the relevant Home Affairs Instrument LIN 19/051.

Do I need a skills assessment?

Yes. You need a skills assessment in your nominated occupation which is listed on the relevant legislative instrument (LIN 19/051).

Do I need to have sat an English exam?

Yes. Even if you are from an exempt country (UK, Ireland, United States, Canada and New Zealand) it is recommended you take an English test for points purposes.

Can I apply for this pathway if I am located offshore?

No, this pathway is only available to onshore applicants only.

Do I need to select Queensland as the preferred State on my EOI?

Yes, BSMQ does not select EOI’s that choose the option of Any.

Do I still need to achieve 65 points through SkillSelect?

Yes. You can use the extra 15 points from state/territory nomination towards the overall points.

What regional areas can I operate my business?

4124 to 4125, 4133, 4183 to 4184, 4207 to 4275, 4280 to 4287, 4306 to 4498, 4507, 4517 to 4519, 4550 to 4575, 4580 to 4895.

Do I need to be living in a regional area?

Yes. You need to have been living in a regional area for at least 6 months prior to lodging an EOI.

Do I have to be living in the same regional area as my business?

No. However you still must be living in an area considered regional for Queensland (see postcodes above at “What regional areas can I operate my business?”).

Do I have to operate the business for 6 months prior to lodging an EOI?

Yes. You can prove this by providing business BAS statements.

How much do I need to pay for the business in regional Queensland?

You can purchase the business for market value, however you must show that a total investment (capital investment rather than operating costs) of $100,000 has been made into the business by the time you submit the EOI.

Does my business need to be related to my nominated occupation?

No. Your business does not need to be related to your nominated occupation, but you still must be able to show relevant business experience or a qualification to demonstrate you will be able to successfully run the business.

What documents are required?

 

  • Application form
  • Settlement funds declaration form
  • Bank statement (personal)
  • Skills assessment
  • Commitment statement
  • Evidence of business management
  • Evidence of academic qualification
  • Evidence of business ownership/registration documents (contract of sale and ABN/ACN/ASIC)
  • Evidence of Australian resident employee (not a family member, or a subcontractor)
  • Evidence business has been operating for 6 months (BAS statements)
  • VEVO
  • Utility bill or lease agreement

 

Note: It is recommended you seek professional legal and financial advice before making an investment or starting a business. BSMQ takes no responsibility in the event that your business or investment is not successful.

How do I show the $100,000 investment?

We will look at your business purchase contract of sale and other capital investments made into the business over the six months following purchase/settlement of the business prior to submitting an EOI. The total investment amount over this period must be at least a minimum of $100,000.

Can I start-up a new business?

No, it must be an pre-existing business. A start-up business is not an eligible business for this pathway.

Do I need to employ anyone in my business?

Yes, you need to employ a minimum of one Australian employee. They must be an Australian resident.(Note: An Australian resident for the purposes of the 491-SBO pathway is defined as an Australian permanent resident, Australian citizen or a New Zealand citizen usually residing in Australia on a Special Category Visa).

They also need to be working a minimum of 20 hours a week. They cannot be a family member or a subcontractor.

Do the funds that I use to invest into the business have to already be in Australia?

No, it does not matter if the funds have come from offshore as long as you have purchased a business and you have been running it for 6 months before applying.

Can I apply for the nomination, but my partner is operating the business?

No, the person applying must be the one operating the business.

What is the current processing time?

The current processing times is approximately 10 days from receipt of a completed application, unless otherwise stated. A complete application includes the processing fee, not just the documents.

How long do I have to submit my BSMQ required documents?

You are given 14 days to submit your required documents to BSMQ. If you are unable to provide all your documents for processing within the 14 days, you need to contact your case officer and request an extension of time.

Can I email documents to you?

No, you have to upload document through the document portal link provided in the Invitation email. You can only upload one file per document option. If you want to upload multiple document’s then you will have to save the altogether as one file and upload together.

How do I show that I have one employee?

You need to show payslips, PAYG statements and their passport/VEVO.

How do I show my business management or qualification to successfully run the business?

By answering the business experience question on the 491-SBO application form and providing a copy of any qualifications awarded and/or evidence of past business experience.

BSMQ also considers successful operation of the business for 6 months prior to submitting an EOI as sufficient business management experience for application purposes.

What percentage business ownership do I need to have?

You need to have 100% ownership in the business. It cannot be a partnership or a joint venture.

Can I have a partner in the business?

No – you must have 100% ownership of the business. The business must entirely be in your name.

Is the purchase of a franchise acceptable? What about the set-up of an existing franchise in a new location?

The business must be a pre-existing business in a regional area and this also includes franchises. The franchise must have been operating for at least twelve months prior to purchase in a under the 491-SBO pathway.

How long does the business I purchase need to be operating before I can buy it?

All pre-existing businesses need to have been operating for at least 12 months prior to purchase of the business (including franchises).

What can and cannot be included in the $100,000 investment?

What can be included: purchase of the business (including stock purchased as part of initial contract of sale), capital investments (such as machinery, freezers, vans/delivery vehicles), and renovations.

What cannot be included: ongoing operating costs (such as rent, salaries, marketing and promotion costs, additional stock), and working capital (cash).

491-SBO Sample Case Studies

Case Study 1:

Petrol Station

Q: Gurpreet would like purchase a lease of a petrol station in Mt Isa from the current franchisee holder for a period of five years for $120,000 and pay this off over the period. Would this meet 491-SBO requirements?

A: No, it would not. Gurpreet would need to be the 100% owner of the business and direct franchisee to meet requirements. He would also need to invest a minimum of at least $100,00 before submitting an EOI. Investment over a 5 year period would not be acceptable.

Case Study 2:

Courier Business

Q: Ming would like to purchase a courier business, and the cost of the business is $70,000. The courier van is included separately in the purchase contract as stock at a cost of $40,000. He conducts all of his business from his van. Would this meet 491-SBO pathway requirements?

A: The total investment into the business is $110,000, therefore the minimum investment amount would meet 491-SBO requirements. As all of his business is conducted from his van, he does not need a separate commercial premises and this would not be considered as a ‘home-based business’, therefore this would also meet requirements.

Café/Restaurant

Q: Thi would like to purchase a Vietnamese Banh Mi restaurant for $80,000. She would then like to renovate and fit out the shop and invest $50,000 into the renovation. Would this meet 491-SBO requirements?

A: Yes it would. Renovations would be considered as a capital investment and can be included in the total investment cost. She would need to complete the renovations in the 6 month period prior to submitting an EOI.

Case Study 4:

Q: Gustavo would like to purchase a franchise mowing business in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast which has been in operation for 2 months. Would this meet 491-SBO requirements?

A: No it would not. The franchise would need to have been operating for at least 12 months in the regional location to ensure eligibility for the pathway.