The ‘Golden Visa’ migration rort must be shut down

Andrew Martin – managing director of asset management at Moelis Australia, which helps wealthy Chinese to obtain an Australian passport through the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program – has defended the SIV scheme, sighting its “massive success” amid calls for it to be abolished:

Immigration Minister David Coleman recently flagged a review of the business and investment visa scheme, of which the significant investor visa (SIV) is a prominent feature…

[Andrew Martin] said the SIV program in Australia has been “a massive success”, leading to direct investment of more than $11 billion since it commenced in 2012.

“It has been estimated that the follow-on investment from SIV investors has been up to four to five times more than the mandatory $5 million, meaning capital invested into Australia could be as much as $50 billion”…

“It is widely accepted that Australia’s SIV program is best of breed in terms of investment migration — especially in terms of its key investment requirements such as the $5 million amount which is much, much higher than most competing programs,” he said.

He suggested the Government could increase the proportion of funds that had to be invested into emerging companies, but that “we are getting fair value”…

SIV holders qualify for permanent residency if they have spent just 40 days in Australia per year…

The SIV program, affectionately named “Golden Ticket Visas”, allow wealthy foreigners to purchase Australian citizenship by investing $5 million into qualifying assets or ventures. They have been used primarily by the Chinese, who account for 87% of SIVs issued:

These sorts of visas are marketed widely to wealthy investors seeking multiple residency and tax regimes, as noted by investigative reporter Michael West:

The Productivity Commission explicitly recommended abolishing SIVs its 2016 Migrant Intake Australia report, arguing that they provide “negligible” economic benefits and are used as pathways for fraud and money laundering:

The broader economic benefits of the Significant Investor and Premium Investor visas are negligible, and any benefits accrue mainly to those visa holders and to fund managers. It is likely that immigrants through these streams have less favourable social impacts than other skilled immigrants. These visa subclasses should be abolished…

Because there are no English-language requirements for the Significant Investor Visa and Premium Investor Visa, and no upper age limits, it is likely that these immigrants will generate less favourable social impacts than other immigrants. Further, compared to other visa streams, investor visas are prone to misuse and fraud. Concerns about visa fraud played a part in the Canadian Government’s decision in 2014 to scrap its investor visa scheme…

There is a risk that SIV and PIV might be used as a pathway for investing ‘dirty money’ in Australia, an issue that has been raised for other similar schemes (Sumption and Hooper 2014)…

Overall, the case for retaining the Significant Investor Visa and Premium Investor Visa streams is weak and the Government should abolish these visas.

It is also worth reminding readers that the UK Government recently suspended their equivalent of SIV because it generated minimal economic benefits and was being used to launder money:

Ministers are halting a “gold-plated” visa scheme offering foreign investors a fast-track to settling in the UK, as part of a crackdown on financial crime.

Tier 1 investor visas were introduced in 2008 to encourage rich people from outside the EU to invest in the UK.

A £2m investment bought a visa and indefinite leave to remain after five years. But concerns were raised the scheme was being used to launder money…

“We will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system,” said Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes…

…the Migration Advisory Committee said the scheme brought little economic benefit for British citizens…

Through the SIV, the Australian Government has created a program where citizenship is for sale to anyone with enough money to pay. There are few questions asked. There is no rigorous background checks on the applicants or the sources of their money. There is no requirement to speak English. And there is no requirement for the applicants to work or contribute to Australian society.

The federal government must follow the Productivity Commission’s recommendation and abolish the SIV scheme in it entirety.

Leith van Onselen

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.


  1. A fake review will be done – the government ain’t going to do anything. – unless Beijing has quietly threatened trade.
    Look at the money this company is making.
    The UTS ACRI Professor even attends their functions

    • And many many Chinese invested in their float l hear to then qualify.
      But they have all lost money in the process

  2. Bring back nationalism and tariffs. The West has been hoodwinked by their elites to decimate their economies to get cheaper trinkets they don’t need, higher costs for things they do, and more money for the already wealthy. I’d much rather pay 100K for a house and spend a lot more on a TV or fridge or cooker made locally. (that would only get upgraded when it dies, not every two years as we do now because they are stupidly cheap) And not have millions of migrants compete with me for bullsh1t service economy jobs.

  3. Andrew martin = traitorous actions golden visa pimp

    Imagine if the old diggers who went into battle on ww1and ww2 knew that australia would be prostituting itself to chinese visa holders to get in with no language requirement nada.

    We are truly disgusting. No more a nation. This place is finished.

    • I often think the same thing. Those soldiers sacrificed their lives so this country could be sold out and become a third world hole.
      If conscription started today, why would I go fight for a country that is being prostituted?
      At least we will all die from dehydration before the country can completely be overrun when “big australia” has no water left.

  4. We are a prostitute of a nation. Diggers who fought for this country would be looking at Australia and gasping at what this country has become. We are run by self-centred hypocrites that have sold out our youth and could not care less. We have no vision. No courage. We are lost. We stand for nothing now. Our politicians are spineless, shallow Cretans that we put in to run this circus.

    God help our children.

  5. How does it compare to the NZ system?

    They moved to New Zealand on a long-term business visa to develop a large restaurant.
    The visa required a detailed plan, with specific targets to meet – it must be worth at least $500,000, turn a profit and employ a minimum three full-time staff.

    INZ later found that La Vista had failed to turn a profit, instead making a shortfall of more than $230,000.

    So they are being deported.

  6. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Good Aussies don’t really care where someone got their doe from just as long as they can take some of it for themselves to boost their own profits. Winners all around.

  7. There is very little incentive or reason for the political class to give a s**t about ordinary Australians. A popular vote every three years, with sentiment easily manipulated through strategic messaging and buying the acquiescence of media organisations and business.
    Why would they even pretend to care about selling this country out when you can manipulate the messaging so easily ? It’s not going to affect them in their own secure economic and social bubble.
    They never do take notice until widespread dissent and violence is brought into the mix.

    But Australians would have to be some of the laziest, most apathetic, self-interested, narrow minded, complacent citizens of any democratic country.

    What will the average Australian do to change things ? To make life a bit more unpleasant for the plague of Chinese and Indians that are contributing to the destruction of this country ? To send a message to politicians ?

    What are you going to do ?

  8. Massively rorted.
    All borrowed & dirty foreign criminal money.
    Washed into a fake business / venture
    The old liver spotted Chinese and family / no English then running some criminal onshore Chinese activity on the side.

    Australia prostituting itself as new home for these third world Chinese criminal trash.

  9. X money comes in, but how much goes out in remittances (to family, to pay back the loan and interest), plus the cost of looking after these people?

  10. Where are our resident Libertarians extolling the benefits of the “golden visa” and how the market consequently ensures only the best immigrants would be entering the country ?