Buying Australian residency

The Federal Government’s Significant Investment Visa came into effect last Saturday and the responses have been mixed. The Significant Investment Visa offers foreign nationals the opportunity to apply for Australian residency if they can invest at least $5 million in the Australian economy over four years. The money can only be invested in government debt, directly into Australian proprietary companies or specific approved funds.

The Significant Investment Visa waives the usual criteria for skilled migrants, so applicants are not required to be able to speak English. To gain permanent residency applicants must only live in Australia for 40 days per year for four years.

Other countries, such as New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the USA, offer similar visas.  Many people believe that the visa is a positive step for Australia, as it will attract entrepreneurs and innovators to Australia. It will also provide a significant boost in revenue.

Others, however, are calling it a ‘golden visa’. Critics are suggesting that allowing wealthy foreign nationals to buy their way into Australia will threaten the character of our nation. That it makes residency in Australia look like a commodity rather than a privilege, and that those who are granted a golden visa will come with a sense of entitlement.

To find out what those who are pro-visa are saying, read Golden visas to open Asian door at the Sydney Morning Herald website. 

To find out what those who are anti-visa are saying, read Golden visas threaten character of a nation at The Age website. 

The golden ticket

Immigration is an emotional issue in Australia. Many of us feel protective of this beautiful country we live in, and the idea of filling it up with people is daunting; especially people who are not required to learn or speak English and who potentially have no knowledge of our history, customs or way of life.

And yet Australia is made up almost entirely of immigrants. With the exception of the Indigenous population, we have all been here for less than 250 years and many of us for less than a few generations. Ours are some of the most multi-cultural cities in the world but we are still frightened of letting in new people.

We are still thrashing it out over the refugee issue – do we help our fellow human and let them in, or do we lock our doors? But when those who want for nothing wave a large cheque under the noses of the Government, we are rolling out the red carpet. Does this seem un-Australian to anyone else?

I understand that bringing money and business into Australia is important. I understand that this visa will benefit all of us. But I still don’t like the idea of people buying residency in Australia.

Is the golden visa a positive step for Australia, or are we selling off our most precious commodity?