Fresh calls to expand money laundering visas

Atlas Advisors Australia has wasted no time in using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to lobby the Morrison Government to open the floodgates to Significant Investor Visas (SIV) – affectionately known as “Golden Ticket Visas”:

About $100 million could provide a lifeline for start-ups and emerging companies crippled by the coronavirus if applications under the Significant Investor (SIV) program were reopened.

Leading SIV funds manager Atlas Advisors Australia has called on the federal government to reopen approvals and give priority to fast -track urgent applications.

Atlas Advisors executive chairman Guy Hedley said applicants should be able to execute investments while delaying physical stay in Australia until travel restrictions are lifted.

“Reopening approvals under the SIV program would fulfill the program’s original intent to support thin capital markets,” Hedley said.

“Atlas Advisors Australia has allocated more than $40 million to early stage venture capital investors from SIV investors.”

Last year, John Brumby — the chairman of the Australia China Business Council – also demanded that the SIV program be expanded, citing spurious economic benefits:

The Productivity Commission (PC) has previously called for the SIV program to be axed altogether, arguing that SIVs provide minimal if any net economic benefits and likely help fuel fraud and money laundering:

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’s easy to see why. These ‘Golden Ticket Visas’ are touted widely to wealthy investors seeking multiple residencies and tax regimes:

For these reasons, the United Kingdom in 2018 abolished their version of SIVs because they were being used for money laundering purposes and were not providing public benefits:

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…

“We will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system,” said Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes, announcing the suspension would come into effect at midnight on Friday.

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

Clearly, the Morrison Government should side with the PC, reject Atlas Advisors Australia’s special pleading, and abolish SIVs altogether.

Leith van Onselen
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  1. I thought SIV people were just buying govt bonds for 5 years and then selling them and getting on with their new life having recouped their whole investment without any risk.

    • billygoatMEMBER

      I though the SIV folk were just buying 7-11s Nail & waxing joints, car washes, supermarket staff employment agencies, trucking companies, news agents, Australia post, chemists, ports and massage parlours? Am I right??

    • That’s SIV Lehman-style

      This is the Strayan version.

      The connection is that both could be described as ‘dodgy’.

  2. This worked well in African, South and Central American and Asian countries from the 1700s to the mid-20th century. Significant investors in sugar, coffee, tea, cotton, diamonds, oil and quinine sure got the economy firing. And because good moral purpose and the interests of the locals always follows wealth, its did no end of good in Guatemala, Nigeria, Laos and the Middle East. Got ’em right on their feet.

    What we really need is to use the London model and open the doors to Russian oligarchs and Saudi royalty. The Chinese gambling and wombat shooting class is sooo yesterday. Rather than actually make anything here let’s make Australia the home of a begging bowl to corrupt money to pay for the ‘funeral service’ economy that 30 years of neoliberalism, financialisation and deregulation has produced. How about we really turn up the inequality heat right along the cracking fault line of the multicultural consensus? Let’s make it all about money and foreign nationals shipped in by “Atlas Advisors” and see how that plays out?

    Atlas Advisors Australia is a group of morally bankrupt real estate and finance parasites that are tightly placed in the dodgy China money food chain and sale of Australian citizenship to offshore tapeworms wanting to park their loot somewhere:

        • blacktwin997MEMBER

          Level 11, 95 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000

          They haven’t yet closed the NSW borders and the no doubt essential services Atlas Advisors team will probably be back in the office some day…anyone up for a post-Easter road trip?

    • Wombat shooting class. Hehe.

      On a serious note, what challenge is there in shooting wombats? At least skippy is hard to hit with a that hopping.

  3. boomengineeringMEMBER

    Back from the ride, double banger today off to surf with mate & son soon. Had to make up for, rained off, yesterday.
    Who needs to escape to the country, only car on the road a copcar, fresh air to boot.

      • boomengineeringMEMBER

        No, they were all on the beach, they usually like a NE wind, it had more east in it so may have shifted overnight.
        Had a great time ,feel like a million dollars.
        Was thinking about you this morn up to N Head and that you wouldn’t be riding to work anymore and may need motivation to ride such as me rocking up on the way past to do N Head.

        • Thanks Boom. Have been swimming most mornings Manly – Shelley rtn in the dark (with a few others but very much staying 5m apart). Unfortunately whenever there are blueys they seem to congregate in the bay. Went for a run along Manly – Queenscliff instead this morning – can’t believe the groups of people training on top of each other. Exercise will definitely drop but we are lucky we have great bush walks, surf beaches, places to ride, etc and with the weather atm you can easily avoid the crowds.

    • Boom, I have to say I was reading a discussion on Swellnet the other day about whether it’s appropriate to surf during the semi-lockdown. Social distancing etc. There are some fairly shrill and whiny sorts who regularly give vent on that site (prolly the youngsters) and many think that people going surfing right now is tantamount to committing murder.

      I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate than surfing – in the absence of much else to do. Mind you, this is the Goldie we’re talking about where some spots are so crowded social distancing might be a challenge. I like nothing more than to paddle off and find my own peak – away from everyone else, but that’s a rare treat these days.

      • Except that I heard a doctor state that the virus would survive in salt water as our bodies are saline solutions. What are the chances of getting someone else’s “surfie blow”?

  4. Somnolent Straya has three big industries. Importing peoples. Digging stuff up. Recycling real estate. The virus will change none of this. The first priority must be to ensure that the rich keep on getting richer.

    • +1 rich are getting richer thanks to this crisis where do you think the 2 trillion fed bail out fund is going? Not the 99% that’s for sure.

          • For you and me, who knows.

            However, a mate of mine (who works in QLD Gov) texted earlier to say that panic-buying on Saturday would be advisable. Looks like full lock-down from Monday is ON. I’ll post in Weekend Links but feel free to post if you stay awake late enough!

  5. I say take the money and give it to the jobless instead. Then keep the travel ban on permanently so the corrupt mongrels can never come here.

  6. This investor category is massively rorted.
    And contrary to public perception, these aren’t high wealth Chinese etc bringing money into Australia.

    These are old and very old often sick non English speaking Chinese or other third world detritus being packaged up by the agent procurers …

    to have a ‘$200k investment’ or ‘$800k’ net assets into a some phantom business scheme or false valuation (a corner shop rolled over from one Chinese peasant family to the next entering on this pretext)

    And in they come :
    Go out west.

    Old sick & totally useless burden.
    Chinese misfits and other third world socially undesirables.
    No English, in some filthy little shop or micro business that’s been ‘invested in’ but is just a front for this racket.

    Low life useless filth exploiting this visa scam – who then hook into our Medicare & welfare, social services.

    It’s just yet another example of how our border controls and visa system is totally corrupted.

    • Lenny Hayes for PMMEMBER

      Well I guess the fees charged by the parasite Consultants could be termed as “export revenue” ?.

  7. SchillersMEMBER

    If the rules were changed to not allow purchases of residential RE by foreigners, this problem would evaporate toot sweet. The demand for and use of SIVs is contingent on the acquisition of residential RE. Cut that link and watch it disappear.