Small business owners in regional Queensland
|NOTE: The 2023 - 24 program opened on 5 September 2023. Migration Queensland will only consider EOIs lodged on or after 5 September 2023 - updated EOIs will not be accepted.
This pathway is for migrants who are currently living and operating a small business in regional Queensland. You must have an occupation that is on the Home Affairs Legislative Instrument LIN 19/051 and have a positive skills assessment in an occupation on this instrument. You must also have full-time work rights and not currently be studying.
The Small Business Owner (SBO) stream has two seperate pathways available, applicants need to meet the criteria for Pathway 1 OR Pathway 2:
To be eligible for this pathway, you must purchase an existing registered business for a minimum of $100,000 and employ at least one Australian resident. The business must be a pre-existing business which has been purchased and trading for a minimum of six months prior to lodging an Expression of Interest (EOI).
To be eligible for this pathway, you must have started a business and have continuously run that business for a minimum of two years. The business must be generating a profit and have a turnover of $200,000 in the twelve months prior to application.
NOTE: Seek professional legal and financial advice before making an investment or starting a business. Migration Queensland takes no responsibility if your business or investment is not successful.
Migration Queensland offers nominations under the following visa subclass:
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) – This visa allows nominated skilled workers to live and work in regional Queensland for five years and is a pathway to permanent residency.
You must live and work within one of the following postcodes to be eligible for this visa:
4019–4022, 4025, 4037, 4074, 4076–4078, 4124–4125, 4133, 4183–4184, 4207–4275, 4280–4287, 4300–4301, 4303–4498, 4500–4512, 4514–4519, 4521, 4550–4575, 4580–4895.
Note: The above postcodes are applicable to those who have been nominated and applied for their 491 visa from 5 March 2022. Further details can be found in LIN 22/022.
If you were nominated or applied for the 491 visa prior to 5 March 2022, the applicable Queensland postcodes can be found in LIN 20/292.
If you were granted a 491 visa prior to 19 November 2019, the Gold Coast is not an eligible region.
To be eligible for a Queensland nomination, you must meet both the Department of Home Affairs Immigration Eligibility Criteria and Migration Queensland criteria for your chosen visa category.
Home Affairs criteria requires you to:
- have a points test result of 65 or higher, inclusive of state nomination points;
- have a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation;
- be under 45 years of age;
- meet the minimum English language requirement of Competent, unless a higher level is required by your assessing authority.
Migration Queensland criteria requires you to:
|Requirements for Pathway 1 and Pathway 2 applicants:
|Have an occupation on the relevant Legislative Instrument (LIN19/051).
|Living in regional Queensland
|Must provide evidence that you are living in regional Queensland.
|Operating the business full-time
|The applicant must be working for the business full-time (minimum of 30 hours per week).
|Provide evidence that you hold 100% ownership of the business - partnerships or joint ventures are not eligible.
|Location of business
|You must own and operate a business in regional Queensland.
|Applicants must also meet the requirements of Pathway 1 or Pathway 2:
|Additional requirements for Pathway 1 (Purchase of business)
|Age of purchased business
|The business purchased must have been operating for a minimum of two years in its current location, immediately prior to purchase.
|Price of purchased business
|Provide evidence that you have purchased a business for a minimum of $100,000.
|Operation of business
|Provide evidence that you have been operating the business for a minimum of six months after settlement.
NOTE: the six months of operation does not start until 100% of the business purchase price is settled.
|Provide evidence of employment of at least one Australian resident* working a minimum of 20 hours per week, or two employees working 10 hours per week. Employee/s cannot be a family member or a subcontractor.
|Additional requirements for Pathway 2 (Start-ups)
|Operation of business and turnover
|Provide evidence that you have been operating a profitable start-up for a minimum of two years, with a turnover of $200,000 in the twelve months prior to application.
*An Australian resident for the purposes of the 491 SBO pathway is an Australian citizen, an Australia permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen usually residing in Australia on a Special Category subclass 444 visa.
Important notes for SBO 491 nomination applications:
- No share transfer (must have a contract of business sale)
- No vendor financing
- Cannot purchase business from family member or relative
- Cannot purchase a business previously owned by a 491 SBO applicant
- Home-based or virtual offices are not eligible for the 491 SBO pathway
- Commission agents or leasing agents of franchises (such as petrol stations) will not be considered
- Applicants must operate their business for at least three years in a regional area (and may be subject to monitoring) after the grant of the visa. Should an applicant choose to sell their business prior to this time, Migration Queensland has the option to withdraw the nomination of the 491 visa to allow the applicant to explore other visa options
- Please ensure that you read the application process, document checklist and all explanatory notes (below) before submitting your application
- Migration Queensland handle a high volume of applications and client enquiries; enquiries about where your application is in the queue or when you will be invited to apply will not receive a response
- Priority will not be given to invitations where documents or visas are expiring.
Review your eligibility criteria, visa conditions, and document checklist on the Department of Home Affairs website and the Migration Queensland website. Ensure that you meet both the Home Affairs Immigration Eligibility Criteria and Migration Queensland criteria and that you have all your documentation prior to lodging an EOI.
For Queensland state nomination, submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) with SkillSelect. Ensure that all information, such as work experience, is included in your EOI. Preference will be given to applicants who select “Queensland” as their nominating state of choice.
Migration Queensland assesses all EOIs that meet the above Home Affairs and Migration Queensland criteria. If you are invited, you will receive an email invitation to lodge an application and be requested to provide the documents required.
Note: You must upload these documents digitally through the Document Portal link in your invitation email.
Migration Queensland no longer accepts documents sent by email or post. You can only upload one document per file. If you have multiple documents, merge, and save them as one file.
When you have received your invitation from Migration Queensland:
- upload the required documents, and
- pay the non-refundable application fee to finalise your application. Do not pay the fee until you have been invited to apply and all your documents have been uploaded.
Migration Queensland will then review your application and may request any further information.
Note: You will be given 14 calendar days to finalise your application from the date of invitation. If you are unable to provide the relevant information within this time frame, you must seek an extension from Migration Queensland. Applications not finalised within the time frame will be closed and applicants will need to submit a new EOI if they wish to seek Queensland nomination again.
Once Migration Queensland has received and approved your completed application, you will receive an invitation from the Department of Home Affairs to lodge your visa application. You will be given 60 days to lodge your application with them.
If you meet Queensland State Nomination requirements, you will be invited by Migration Queensland to lodge further documentation:
|Passport bio-page: a good quality colour scan of the bio-page of your passport
|VEVO statement: Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) allows a visa holder to check their visa conditions and validity. Please provide a copy of your recent VEVO statement.
|491 Small Business Owner application form: required for all 491 SBO applicants. This form is only available when you receive an invitation from Migration Queensland.
|Skills assessment: a valid skills assessment in the applicant's nominated occupation.
|Evidence of business address: please provide a copy of your current commercial rental lease agreement.
|Evidence of residential address: please provide a copy of your current rental lease, or a recent (issued within last three months) utility bill with your name on it. If you cannot provide this, please complete a statutory declaration declaring your current residential address.
|Contract of business purchase: all business registration details and documents of sale must be in the name of the primary applicant (not a partner or dependant). The business purchase price cannot include assets puchased after settlement; it can only include incumbent assets (including incumbent value of stock).
|Bank statement(s) for business: provide two recent bank statements for the business. Please highlight staff wages and any business related transactions including revenue.
|Evidence of business ownership: provide a recent Company Extract from Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) that shows you own 100% of the business. Also provide Australian Business Number (ABN) or (A.C.N).
|Evidence of Australian employee/s: provide evidence of employment of at least one Australian resident working a minimum of 20 hours a week (or two employees working a minimum of 10 hours each) at time of EOI lodgement. This cannot be a family member or subcontractor. Acceptable evidence of residency includes a copy of an Australian passport, citizenship certificate, Medicare card or VEVO statement.
Also provide two recent payslips that indicate the hours worked by these employees.
|Evidence of business operation:
|Business age - evidence that the business was operating for two years immediately before purchase: provide eight quarterly BAS or two years of financial records as evidence that the business purchased has been operating for a minimum of two years in its current location, immediately prior to purchase.
|Evidence that you have been working for the business full-time since ownership: provide a statutory declaration that declares you have been working for the business full-time (minimum of 30 hours per week) since ownership.
|Profit and loss statement - must be produced by a registered accountant:
|Settlement statement: this document must show the date and location of final settlement, list the names of buyer and seller, and show the breakdown of settlement amounts and their distribution.
|Settlement funds declaration form and bank statement(s) showing declared funds: completed form and bank statement(s) that show the declared amount of settlement funds. The amount declared in the form and the amount on the bank statement(s) must match. Please see the Settlement Funds Declaration form for more information.